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 the author of All My Heroes Are Broke (C&R Press, 2017) and Before Snowfall, After Rain (Glass Poetry Press, 2016). Born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents, he was raised in Miami and completed his MFA at Florida International University. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2016, Gulf Coast,, Prelude, Washington Square, and elsewhere. He lives in South Florida (for now).