Tonight

By Aaron Shurin

Tonight he is here, surrounded by wreaths of smoke, or he is a coil of smoke on the edge of dispersal, or I am a smoke machine and he is mine… He is my jelly on the wing — flexing in a mist of muscle, a phantom mass I palpitate and follow… Where do we go? The sky is pink. Where will we stay? The blue house hovers; the street a crooked grin of stairs: “What do you want from me, children?” “We want your corners and your closed eyes.” I am his rounded side, his safety cave. We take cover in the cool white room, loosed into cool gray shadows — vapor banks — swirl — which are the exhalations of our common lung, our trust exuded and our skin of clouds… Where do we stand? Tonight we are here, surrounded by wreaths of smoke…


Aaron Shurin’s most recent books are King of Shadows, a collection of personal essays, and Citizen, a collection of prose poems, both from City Lights Books. He’s Professor Emeritus in the MFA Writing Program at the University of San Francisco.