Charlotte Mabe

In hotel rooms across the country
I have watched headlights hit thick curtains
meant to block out the grimy sidewalks
and wasted pavement,
And felt a magical lifting in my limbs,
the slightest hint at escape from
the routine and bite of familiarity
that does not care how many times
you have walked its paths.
Up and down the eastern seaboard
my ghost paces forest green carpet
and lies still beneath scratchy spreads
of muted pastels on fields of dense color.
What is the allure of journeying
only to find nothing upholds your expectations
in Connecticut or Maryland,
just like it falls short back home.
Yet it is beautiful to stretch the strings attached
to a physical inhabitance,
something our ancestors ignored
traveling to cross land bridges
and bring us here, where billboards roam
across fields and power lines
raise their hands to the sky, asking,
Why am I channeling their pornography
and infomercials
when I could be dancing around the sun?
There is always a paste-on, peel-away border
around the top of the walls,
cheek to cheek with the stucco ceiling
and cut around the smoke detector
for men sitting on the edges of beds
and chain smoking,
wondering how they got so far
removed from high school.
It is beautiful,
the squat air controls hulking beneath windows
and the wood painted to look like mahogany.
I won’t be back,
but I’ll visit again.


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