173/365: A Warm Body In a Sad Motel Room
I stayed in this motel room over fifteen years ago.
I curled up in its bathtub with a six-pack of warm beer
and listened for the dogs whose owner had abandoned them
to go find his love in Mexico.
I was told by the front desk man that the woman had run off,
and that the mongrels might bark at my door looking for food,
but they couldn't be trusted.
I wasn't supposed to answer and wouldn't have,
because who answers a door to barking dogs?
I could see the cheap hotel art on the wall
from my spot hunched down by the tap,
a flamenco dancer in a red skirt on velvet,
and I imagined the strength of a dream
that nailed itself to eight rooms' walls like that
in the middle of a landscape fleeing in all directions,
far away from any flamenco dancers
and the hands that painted them.
I would have run from here, too,
if she'd left me with nothing but those dogs and this motel.
I wondered how I would make it through to home
with all the snow and ice that had stranded me here.
I wondered where those wild dogs hid when it was cold
now that no one tamed them
and why none of those dogs came to my door now,
the only door with any animal sound rolling on the other side,
even if it was just my echoed whispers in the tub,
the only door behind which lay the heat of a warm body,
near or far.
I imagined that man's dogs all teeth under a porch somewhere,
a rictus of cold and hunger over the lot,
and I hoped the man found his love
before he found any of them.
I am writing one poem every day in 2016, and I am using the hashtag #365poems to document my progress.