motel wall

working again

trading your life

for money


driving and stopping

picking up and dropping

plotting your route

watching the clock

traffic lights

braking for the oblivious

idiot behind the wheel

on his cell and listening to

Dylan watching the river

flow, now, you sit eight deep

in the left turn lane

on Broadway waiting for

the green arrow


when you spy an older woman

shuffling along the sidewalk

in front of the aging brick

motel across the street, circa

1950, her right arm extended

to feel for wall, door, or

window air conditioner, whatever’s

solid, her makeshift handrail

every other slow-mo step

her fingers or palm touches then

pushes off, her left arm tightly

cradles something in a paper bag

to her breast, as she reaches

her room door cracked open

she disappears in the dark


when an ’86 Chevy Blazer

pulls into the lot

then backs into the first

diagonal parking spot

off the street, quick and slick

like he’s done it a time or two

a couple with handicapped plates

the driver gets out, shuts

his door less than six zippity-feet

from the motel room

he enters without much trouble

doesn’t look back

his biggest handicap

appears to be obesity


when the passenger

door opens and a woman

slowly slides out

he’s already inside

she closes the door to feel

her way along the Blazer

coming around the nose

you note the glazed belly

of her zip-up hoodie, lime-green

and her blue pajama bottoms

with white silhouettes of

bunnies and carrots

but her feet steal the style-show

those zebra-striped zipper-

slippers make you smile, say

oh, baby, you know what I like


when the light changes

you drive away

assume she followed him inside

to continue their day like you

just trying to get to some

kind of social security

as soon as you can

if you’re lucky enough

to make it that far, maybe

there’ll be a Sleepy Inn

with cable and a bottomless pot

of Boyd’s in the office

some retro accommodation

your age where the women

outnumber the men

two to one, and all the ice

you can scoop is free

where they’ll run you a tab

for liquor, put it on your weekly

bill, and deliver till midnight

any day of the year

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