Tonight

By Ladan Osman Ladan Osman
Tonight is a drunk man,
his dirty shirt.

There is no couple chatting by the recycling bins,
offering to help me unload my plastics.

There is not even the black and white cat
that balances elegantly on the lip of the dumpster.

There is only the smell of sour breath. Sweat on the collar of my shirt.
A water bottle rolling under a car.
Me in my too-small pajama pants stacking juice jugs on neighbors’ juice jugs.

I look to see if there is someone drinking on their balcony.

I tell myself I will wave.

Poem copyright ©2010 by Ladan Osman, and reprinted by permission of the poet.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Ladan Osman

POET’S REGION Africa

Biography

Poet Ladan Osman was born in Somalia. She earned a BA at Otterbein College and an MFA at the University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers. Her poetry has been featured in former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s syndicated newspaper column, “American Life in Poetry.” Osman lives in Chicago.

Continue reading this biography

POET’S REGION Africa

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.