Published on Academy of American Poets (


Drunk and weeping. It’s another night
at the live-in opera, and I figure
it’s going to turn out badly for me.
The dead next door accept their salutations,
their salted notes, the drawn-out wailing.
It’s we the living who must run for cover,
meaning me. Mortality’s the ABC of it,
and after that comes lechery and lying.
And, oh, how to piece together a life
from this scandal and confusion, as if
the gods were inhabiting us or cohabiting
with us, just for the music’s sake.


Harvey Shapiro, "Nights," from The Sights Along the Harbor, © 2006 by Harvey Shapiro. Used by permission of Wesleyan University Press.


Harvey Shapiro

Harvey Shapiro, born January 27, 1924, is the author of The Sights Along the Harbor: New and Collected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2009), How Charlie Shavers Died and Other Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2001), and National Cold Storage Company: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 1988), among others. He died on January 7, 2013.

Date Published: 2006-01-01

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