blessed is the night
               its cool breath, its wild & unyielding music
blessed is the night
               with its horns & teeth, its blindness, its hollering
blessed is the bassline
               that pulsing blue vein that uncoils itself over & over, swelling
blessed is the strain of the piano key
               how it buckles & then lifts again as though hungry
blessed are those who hunger for jazz clubs
               who thirst for their primal dark, two-step on their floorboards
blessed are the half-crazed & dancing
               for their bodies will dive & stumble in oblivion
blessed is the songstress orbiting the microphone
               may hers be the voice that claws through the perpetual smoke
blessed is the smoke, yes, but blessed is the night
               hasn't it always been a kingdom for the untamed spirit, for the new?

Meredith Nnoka is a recent Smith College graduate with a degree in Afro-American Studies and English. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she works at a high school, writes poems, and takes French classes. Her fiction can be found in The Cadaverine.