“The City Sometimes Sleeps” By Andy Frakes

– You are a bodega of feeling
Open twenty-four hours
Cash-only, of course
With an ATM just outside,
And a small neon window sign
That says “OPEN,”
A sign that hasn’t been turned off
In years and years

– Cravings are metered here,
Thirsts small and medium
Put off until sun-up,
Put off long enough
To walk back upstairs
And lay dimly,
Anguishing, languishing
Until the bells ring dawn.

– The odd languages in you,
Bickering, questioning,
Words you have no part in—
They have invited themselves
And imposed
Upon our fan-blowing calm,
Your tile-floor gleam
On the avenue corner.

– Those languages echo
In after-dark fluorescence
Until they are allowed to flee
Out of the open door—
Always a glass door, always—
Past me, into the night,
While my weak hand
Holds onto the handle
That says “pull.”


Andy Frakes grew up in the rural Midwest and studied journalism at Northern Michigan University. He now resides in New York City and spends most of his time waiting, forlorn, on various subway platforms wishing he’d stopped at the café first.

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