Three in the morning

and the bar is closing.


The room has been empty

most of the night, save


two young men

sitting with two glasses


stacked with ice, the amber

of whiskey frosted at the bottom.


The bartender clears her throat

to reiterate.


The two young men, barely so,

hold each other’s hands behind


a napkin dispenser. Boots shuffle

quietly under their table.


It is three AM and this is the only time

in a five stoplight town


where they can be alone in public

and be safe.




Samuel J. Fox is a current English graduate student at Western Carolina University. He has been published in numerous journals and is forthcoming in Luna Luna Magazine and Polychrome Ink Literary Journal. He writes lyric essays and performs spoken word around his home state of North Carolina. You can also visit him on Facebook or at his website (samueljfox.com).