“A Nightmare Called Tonight” by simone j. banks

Issue 24 / Winter 2021 / Special Issue: Pleasure


a mother moans         the night is warm

moonlight shadows the roses a familiar lean

into bleak

what has she lost? a son?

scarce as any summer night’s answer


the emptying of his bedroom is proof:

fingerprints fade, black socks un-ball, drawing paper

releases color

a vacant cloud


set for 3




and who is responsible?





the air tonight is/not/enough

a fist grows tight in her throat

as her son last said amen or tried

walking centered/down/parallel/yellows

a familiar scene

of shadows    to bid coverage






he was ours

the city cried harmony

stolen life

left to rot

against melting stone

and gravel


who captures the brusque weight of words?

from those mourning lips



the mother

is screaming now

the night is hot

moonlight shadows the roses leaning



what did she lose, again? a son.

scarce as any summer night’s memory


so, who is responsible?






there is a swell of silent horror the boy joins

to say goodnight

a bent head

a thread of fingers

eyes pressed closed


does/did his body have meaning to you?


oh Lord drowning/deep/in/throats

previously sung

against lips savoring

what has birthed and died


but who is responsible?



the mother’s eyes are swollen now

and the night             has not cooled


and there is no reprieve.




simóne j banks (she/her) is a 3rd year MFA creative writing student at Louisiana State University currently writing her first hybrid book of poetry. Her writing focuses on ancestral threads of trauma, womanhood, family and love.

Tip Jar



  1. AV Banks

    Excellent! I felt lots of images and an interesting message overall .

  2. Judy Banks

    Hit me in my gut! Found myself holding my breath. Powerful. An all too familiar scene.


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