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Night Watch for Traveling Husband

Night feels thicker when you are gone,
heavier, full of deceptive shapes
and roaming cars that could be yours,

but aren’t. I’m such a silly girl, waiting
for your return, cool patience of the long-
married replaced by bubbling anxiety,

shape-shifting tension unrelieved
by the madly barking dogs next door
who resume their frenzy anytime

any vehicle approaches. Should I
go to the window one more time,
peer through curtains one more time,

hoping you are off the highways
and at last onto local streets,
descending into neighborhoods

you know, coming around
the cul-de-sac, tires gliding
onto the driveway? Sleepless,

fretting, I know exactly how far
away you are, mark off miles on a
mind’s eye map, know where

you will fill up or stop to eat,
but I still hope to see you
sooner than the speed limit allows,

damning any incident or accident
that clogs the interstate, any cop
with a quota to be made, any

construction site with vested
stop-sign workers. Night,
bring him back to me before

you tumble into day, before hated
sunrises and solo breakfasts.
Night, release him to my lair.


Allison Joseph lives, writes, and teaches in Carbondale, Illinois, where she’s part of the creative writing faculty at Southern Illinois University. She serves as editor of Crab Orchard Review, and director of the Young Writers Workshop, a coed residential creative writing workshop for teens. Her latest books are the full-length collection My Father’s Kites (Steel Toe Books) and the chapbook Little Epiphanies (Imaginary Friend Press).


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