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The message on the telephone screen

Said to come by the room

213 and it seemed odd hotels

usually avoid floors with that number

and the neighbor

in the sleeveless shirt smiled as he passed

and he wondered how she was up so early and

the maids near the parking lot shed

wheeling their carts full of new towels

and fragrant and decorative soaps

and the fountains giggled in sun

stark as the goldfish in the bright courtyard gardens.

I once stabbed a girl in Corcoran she said

And he thought of the penitentiary for a moment

even though she meant the city

which imprisoned the jail

But knew she was always a she

And had spent her life selling it

And the story of the lawyer who

left his car keys on the table for the taking

she called later and confessed

you can find it, in the field under

the billboard with you name and numb.

She had been down many roads

Passed the signs that read vacancy and

open fields where the call of the BNSF

made the small fires feel warmer.

Looking through the window

into the hotel courtyard

he looked at the balcony with the planters

the opaque curtains embracing the morning light

this shouldn’t have happened

street traffic cluttering through the ardent trees

magnificent carpets and pristine walls a kitchenette

I have to keep rooms like this to keep them coming

Coughs these sentences

into a short cup

She tells him about the dream last night

The drink from the man with the bags

And the colorful bottles

And a business and a former wife and kids –

A son

And a daughter

Waking up in the morning she sees

The clean lemon slices decorating the table

Next to the crisp slivers of currency

he owed me for four hours

And in the dream she tells him about

the man smiling

As she stepped from the washroom

the damp glass passed to her

and laughing as she

reached for it.

© 2020 Fin

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