Night Opera

From the book published in 2021, And Don’t Come Back.

Night Opera

Empty garage at night
door open
a bright white cube
not a thing in it but three men
sit center stage slouched in lawn chairs
a semi-circle of sweat and beer-drinking
in the glow of fluorescent lights

in one of the townhouses
squared up around a parking lot
and a couple of tired trees
panting in the thick air
it’s the kind of night
where men sit
drinking beer in an empty garage
under fluorescent lights

while the kids ride their bikes around the court
weave in and out of the parked cars
between what they’re yelling
and the cycle-on-cycle-off
exasperated invective
from all those air conditioners
the night is a choir
singing out a haphazard round

in counterpoint to the men who
Talk. Lift beers.
Talk. Talk.
Lift beers. Talk.
Lift beers.


10 thoughts on “Night Opera

    • Yes. In summer the open door garage gathering at night is popular. It’s almost like the participants are on a stage, one set after another – the guys talking, the fellow working on his car, or the lady moving boxes around or else kids playing, I think often they don’t realize how revealed they are!

    • Thank you. It’s very common right now here with it being summertime and people enjoying sitting outside (even though this was written a couple of years ago, well, some patterns don’t change, do they?)

  1. lovely, Claudia. This one really appeals to me. It paints a really descriptive and affectionate picture of a sweaty evening in a hot summer, while grown ups get on with the job of keeping cool and the children play.

    • Thank you. I wrote this about an actual scene I saw in a townhouse development near me, on a hot summer night as we so often have here. The way the townhouses were arranged made it so that outdoor activities were in a public space with different groups side by side. Plus it was at the beginning of the pandemic so people were outside all the time when maybe in the past they might have been indoors. It was fascinating to me.

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