The Lights of Saratoga
The locals have a name for it, but I don’t.
As they may appear and disappear,
like the wayward drunk everyone knows
by name or the blooming headlights
that may or may not pick up more than dust.
The locals know better—offer him
a drink and listen to his stories, nod
solemnly at what may or may not be true.
When he says, I killed a man, he may
or not mean he came close to killing.
One may get too close to a cliff
only to take a step back into the middle
of the road flooded by headlights that may
or may not hit the dust the way it hits
a body—lifting. The locals have a name
for it, but I don’t—visiting levees at night,
pulling bodies from the river like a dream
caught in thick sleep. The locals know
whatever men they lose may or may not
come back, waiting to lift each other
like one waits for Saratoga lights,
like moths to light, like dust against light.
Florencia Varela’s poems have previously been featured in journals such as Anti-, Diagram, Drunken Boat, Gulf Coast Journal, Destroyer, Similar: Peaks, Poetry Daily Washington Square Journal, and Western Humanities Review. She completed her MFA at Columbia University, and her chapbook, Outside of Sleep, was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2012. She was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn.