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N is for Nighthawks
after Edward Hopper
The big picture window of Phillie's diner
is a yellow welcome climbing out of shadow,
an island in the dream of three am,
swimming out through deep grates and lattice work.
Phil is working the counter in a white uniform,
old as the place and polite as you please.
You perch on the stool in a bright red dress,
your man sitting next to you.
His fedora catches light on the brim.
Its three am and you in your straight-seamed nylons
and he in dress coat and tie
hum late night conversation,
words warm as coffee,
inside the plateglass. And beyond,
the lip of darkness pouts in shadows.
This is the way it was,
a world liquid under glass,
while the avenue was dark with stars