Umbrellas at Night

By Mark Belair

From this high window, the dark ribs
of a fruit man’s overlapping umbrellas

below—tan fabric aglow—curve
exposed, his patrons, as they move

in and out of the spotlit shelters,
silhouetted on the taut canvases,

the fruit man the center of a shadow play,
the figures expanding and shrinking across

the umbrellas like voices lowered and raised,
shifting shapes you could use to dream up

any number of dramas, even after
the patrons fall to infrequent and

the fruit man’s shadow, through the night,
grows still on a stool.



Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, The Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His latest collection is Watching Ourselves (Unsolicited Press, 2017). Previous collections include Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015); Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize multiple times. Please visit

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