Dante Di Stefano

Nocturne

The night is a boat our daughter sleeps in,
a hammock slung between blue hours, the gallop
of a rocking horse in the reverie
of hospital hallway and midnight moon.

Each evening I see a star I cannot name
out the window. I say to it: the night 
is the flipper of a humpback whale. You
are a bright eyeful of anemone, 

a pearl in a coral bouquet, a gill
sprouting from the side of my neck as waves
cascade above my head and I become
more pacific, maritime, indigo.

I put my ear to a broken seashell
and I can hear it singing this refrain:
the night is an ear pressed to a shard, you
are a night, a curve, a frigate burning

on the roiling sheet of a vast dark deep;
a bird atop the mast whistles twilight,
which is to say, the lullabies in you
rock, paper, scissors, and then, ricochet. 

Dante Di Stefano is the author of Ill Angels (Etruscan Press, 2019) and Love Is a Stone Endlessly in Flight (Brighthorse Books, 2016). His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Best American Poetry 2018, Prairie Schooner, The Sewanee Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, and elsewhere. Along with María Isabel Álvarez, he co-edited the anthology Misrepresented People: Poetic Responses to Trump’s America (NYQ Books, 2018). He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from Binghamton University and is the poetry editor for the DIALOGIST.