Natasha Trethewey

5. Expectant

Nights are hardest, the swelling,
tight and low (a girl), Delta heat,

and that woodsy silence, a zephyred hush.
So how to keep busy? Wind the clocks,

measure out time to check the window,
or listen hard for his car on the road.

Small tasks done and undone, a floor
swept clean. She can fill a room

with a loud clear alto, broom-dance
right out the back door, her heavy footsteps

a parade beneath the stars. Honeysuckle
fragrant as perfume, nightlife

a steady insect hum. Still, she longs
for the Quarter — lights, riverboats churning,

the tinkle of ice in a slim bar glass.
Each night a refrain, its plain blue notes

carrying her, slightly swaying, home.