Nighthawks of the 24-Hour Donut Shops

Midnight sun of the red blazing “O”

in the window, a beacon for wanderers

looking to escape the cold, or thrown-out

drunks trying to keep the night-talk alive

until morning arrives like an express train,

because the coffee refills here are free.

The undergrad who works the graveyard

shift lets them loiter, but has to remind

them every single night that if they want

a refill, they have to buy a cup of coffee first.

Ariel Francisco is a Dominican-Guatemalan-American poet born in the Bronx, New York, and raised in Miami, Florida. He is currently completing his MFA at Florida International University where he is also the assistant editor of Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. His poems have appeared in The Boiler Journal, Portland Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Washington Square, and elsewhere.