Third Party

With the moon, Li Po, you carried on
with such fraternal warmth, shared
your wet, sanguine laughter.
I have searched this town
for similar communion,
arriving again at this porch
in the thickening dusk,
as though neck-deep in the blue-black
of my own mountain pool,
empty bottles glare back at me
amid the orchestral flourish
of crickets strumming
femoral harps.
A cloud of mosquitoes,
with no fluorescence to entice them,
hover above in search of a fresh vein.
I raise a new bottle to my lips,
amber beer, not baijiu—no such luck.
Someone said the strength of spirits
in the blood deters them,
spoils the taste of us.
Not the day’s first lie exposed
nor its second,
though I doubt my neighbors
would take much satisfaction
in these bruised humors anyway,
and wonder if when this mist clears,
if even from such great heights
he, too, can forgive them.
If, after your fashion, I raise
this bottle and what’s left inside
to him, a morose drinking partner’s

I will not dance.
You both know I will not dance.
But this night I promise
to keep
my shadow in check.

Adam Durso received his MFA in fiction from Temple University, in Philadelphia. Like Thornton Wilder before him, he sleeps in Hamden, Connecticut, and lives and works in New Haven. His poetry has appeared in The Common Ground Review, Chiron Review, and The Tishman Review.