Café Terrace at Night


The ocean stoops above the strand, beyond

the final, gray lines of the last city block,

heaving softly about the quay, waiting.


Café lamps scour starlight from the summer sky,

while shadows of amber wrung from their saffron sheen

pool beneath the vacant chairs and tables.


Our words, unspooling in cool rivulets

in the deepening night, spill, mingling

with the brackish bite of the sea breeze


that washes across these narrow boulevards;

and time is caught, swirling in this eddy

encircling us, at the sound of your laughter.

 Winter Sleep

At that point of winter

so deep unending night

seems a bed of pin-shaft stars

that press against flesh,

flush and numb,

you wonder if there was ever

another season,

and you’ve ceased to believe

in the fiction of spring.


And the antique houses along

this luminous blue valley

settle in the aching cold

and shotgun crack, echoing,

as sill and beam wrench

against each other,

objecting in their agony.


From their dreamless sleep,

unsure of what they’ve heard,

the inhabitants stir,

and the sheriff is called.

But the gunfire reported

in those small, bitter hours

is only that framing complaining,

and the people ease back

into narrow beds,

stock-still and silent

in these homes as straight

and as safe as coffins.

Kevin Casey is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and received his graduate degree at the University of Connecticut.  His work has been accepted by Grasslimb, Frostwriting, Words Dance, Turtle Island Review, decomP, and others.  He currently teaches literature at a small university in Maine, where he enjoys fishing, snowshoeing and hiking.