The present, fading, doesn't make a sound

Poetry by Nate Levine
Issue 34 • December 2015 • Virginia Beach

The smell of pipe tobacco
is rich like the the smell of hair
left behind on striped pillow cases,

before the snow covered
the cigarette butts and cans of beer,
colonies of ants dormant in the ground.

All of the neighbors are asleep,
porch lights reflect in earth and car paint.
A couple of the brick houses are still lit,

Civil War-era chimneys issue smoke
into the muffled clouds, the red light of a satellite
occasionally blinking through.

A train whistle mourns the night
while a bush hunches under the weight
of the fresh powder, then the smoke putters

out, and a clank of bottles
in recycling bins is the only reminder that
there was life here, once

waiting for the morning to heave it to wake,
waiting for a yellow star to melt
the cold from bitter hands.

Nate Levine is finishing his final semester at the University of Mary Washington where he won the school's 2015 Academy of American Poets Prize. When not in Fredericksburg, he lives and writes in Virginia Beach. Follow him on Twitter @nateisstoked.

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