Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Hotel by Austin Smith

The Hotel

The radiator holds
its boiling water
like an accordion
holding its breath
in a ditch. The room
itself is simple,
the sort rented out
night by night
to the poor to make
more poor or to die in
but it is not night
nor is she poor. She
could have afforded
a nicer room and it is
day. Closing the blinds
the way someone
takes out a contact
that’s been bothering
her, she lies down,
the only sounds
wrenches clunking
in the radiator
and a boy playing
piano in the lobby
like someone falling
down stairs. Clearly
he is unsupervised.
Clearly soon someone
will come grab him
by the wrist, shaking
him once, the way one
shakes a thermometer.
Clearly it is a boy,
or a drunk man
who’s never played
and wants only to feel
the cold ivory keys
the way a woman
will sometimes feel
the forehead
of a child she knows
is perfectly well.

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