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The Night Shifts

21 April, 2019: The Night Shifts


The Night Shifts

by Victor Koran
Silence might have been better.
The night seems like it should
be silent, the way it would be
deep in the county, where the vacuum
of the wilderness presses a stethoscope
to your heart and the snap of twigs
underfoot is crisp.
But here, in the outskirts of the Steel
City, the constant drone of men
like me, awake and mindlessly busy,
presses a cupped hand to your ear,
and the occasional clang of machinery
and tools dropped by weary hands
reaches you as if through water.
In the silent wilderness, the slightest
sound would tie us together and pull
you to me and me to you
in the surest sign that our isolation -
however wanted - had ended.
In the city, pulled together,
we labor under our symphony,
steely and greased, each sound
to each other signifies nothing,
no pull even as we pass,
and I long for solitude.
“The Night Shifts” by Victor Koran. Copyright Victor Koran, 2018. Used by permission of the author.
Victor Koran is a writer in Kent, previously from East Liverpool, Ohio, and then West Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut. He has a background in factory work and is an expert in receiving customer service calls. He studied poetry briefly at Kent State University and has poems published in The Cobalt Review, Dragon Poet Review and K’in Literary Journal, among others. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.


Look at a map of Ohio and find a place in the state you have never been to. Write a poem about it, using only your imagination or what you’ve heard – no research.

Port Clinton

Passed your exit on I-90
On my westward travels from the 'Land to Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis or Milwaukee
Half-way between the 'Land and Toledo
But a world away

On Erie's coast?
I'm sure with a Port prefacing Clinton
Ohio housing costs?
Premium lakefront living?

Spring and summer construction season has begun
So, invite me
I'd like to check you out
4/21/2019 10:08:24 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.