Nighthawks in the Lockdown

after Edward Hopper

They will have last been in days ago,
left a small mess of
change, stained coffee mug
and cigarette butt, nodded to
the man in white and
ducked into the night.
The counters are gleaming,
the white uniform hooked or
folded in the kitchen.  

The stools stand still,
2 feet apart, old scuffs from
leaning brogues,
the stab of a stiletto.
They are wiped clean
from the last lock-up,
light snapped off, door clapped shut,
sign peeling from the inside
of the window
declares to no one asking:
closed until further notice.  

The red dress cools in a closet
somewhere. Hat tipped on a bannister.
I wonder if they live alone,
if the loneliness runs deeper there
where they hold their blank stare now,
if not at the drip of brown
between the coffee urns.

by Phoebe Nicholson

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