One Night – by Matt Dennison

There was a bus driver who had driven
the very same route for fourteen years
and never been able to get through
the last five lights on the green
until one night he finally
glided, dived,
swam through those last five
like there was nothing to it,
nothing at all. And then,
after dancing his way down
the street – a mysteriously
light-hearted tango that started
in the laugh of leather
against concrete –
he floated on up to his own front door
and into his own wife’s arms
whereupon he possessed her
for the first time in a very long time.

And when it was over, she purring
by his side, he smoking his
forbidden cigarette in the harsh
glow of the night and feeling like
a winner, he felt the hot end
of his satisfaction meet his flesh
and the burn of seeing what
his own desire, his own secret battle
in life had actually been and he shivered
with the hairs on his chest, suddenly grey,
for he knew – and the night was not
necessarily unkind, it was just the night –
that he would never catch the green
on those last five lights again
so he kissed his wife
and for the first time in fifteen years
surprised her for the second time
in one night.

After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made videos with poetry videographers Michael DickesSwoon, and Marie Craven.

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