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Stoplight nights
 
It wasn’t like he hadn’t been here before
Late at night, searching for the right bottle
Amongst the rack of whites and reds and candy-flavored vodkas
The bright light shrunk his pupils as he entered
And he fiddled in his pocket for his credit card, his license
It didn’t matter what he bought
As long as he bought something
Sometimes he stood outside and smoked a cigarette before going in
He needed to calm down before he could calm down
He needed to inhale before he could swallow
He needed to close his eyes before he could open them
Walk down the street and back to his rusty car,
Climb inside and drive back home
Where he was met by overfilled ashtrays and empty bottles and Chinese takeout
Sometimes Jules was home, other times she wasn’t
She had stopped being worried a long time ago
Because she knew he would not listen
And that night, when he came home and opened the bottle
He thought of her green eyes
And how he wished he had followed them
Instead of the red light

~

Samantha is a writer and poet from New York. She studied Hispanic Literature at Brown University, where she wrote her thesis on Nuyorican poetry. You can learn more about her at www.samanthasavello.com.

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