Two A.M.
by Allyson Kwett

But there’s no darkness, at least
No Country Darkness
No Fords on Highway One
No tires packing salt into pavement
No dim headlights shining back off yellow signs

But the glow is the same
                          Toxic orange
And the same weeping strings
             Cries of smoke and whiskey
Leech through headphones
Leech into the sky

Yellow streetlights and
Endlessly blinking neon
Bounces off slick wet pavement

             And the bay
Is white and yellow
With Atlantis sunk
Office buildings and sky-rise apartments
Bleeding to the shore

No stars, no moon
Under a ceiling of burnt fog
And the porch light is off
But still I wonder

Wonder if the smoldering ash
Faint red glow and
Release of gray smoke and flesh
Covers the stratus and cosmos of night
Behind sheets of melancholy

Fighting to bleed through the edges
With violent ferocity

Allyson Kwett is a San Francisco Bay Area native currently completing her BA in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. She enjoys parlour games, trivia, crosswords, and cucumber-flavored soft drinks, and abhors people who say “for all intensive purposes”.

Editor’s Note: Allyson Kwett has a nice handle on the use of sound in poetry. Moments like “No tires packing salt into pavement” hit the ear in the same way the mind’s eye pictures the tires packing salt into the ground. Beginning the poem mid-moment, “But there’s no darkness, at least,” we as readers experience the poem as a scene carved from time. We are dropped in, a world opens up for us, we inhabit it in all its detail, and we exit “with violent ferocity.” It is a quick and intense experience, alive with images and sound along the way.


  1. Yes, “for all intents and purposes” changes, significantly, with that 1st noun becoming an adjective: “intensive purposes” … gotta love the language(s)! And Highway One.


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