Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2017  Vol. 16 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Bedtime in the Tropical Hotel

Before I rest
I like to open every drawer and closet.
You are content
not to. One by one, as you need them, you will ask
where the spoons are. The sunscreen. The waste basket.
It’s left to me to find the Oh-Jesus-that’s-a-huge-cockroach
tucked under a hinge of the living room’s—

What’s that?

We have a Murphy bed! I say, gesturing
at the small, white knob on a rectangle cut into the wall.

Good God, you say.
And, Did we request a Murphy bed? meaning, Will there be a charge?
Then, Cockroach?!

It’s fine, it’s happy there, I say.

That’s you, working towels into the crack under the bedroom door.

I don’t even know if it is a cockroach. It might have just been something brown.
With something that looked like antennae, I say. Probably just rust.
It’s in a whole other room, I offer.

You say, This is supposed to be a vacation.
And you say, They’re nocturnal. I’m not taking any chances.
The room grows stuffier. Night air, blowing from the Gulf, farewell.

I say, Let’s conduct a thought experiment. Let’s pretend
there is no cockroach.
But there is, you say.
Possibly. There’s at least a putative cockroach, I say. But
we could act as if there isn’t.

Pass me another towel, you say.
You use my comb and a ballpoint pen to wedge it into position.
It’s funny that you’re looking at me peculiarly. This, I don’t say.

We’ll suffocate, I say.
You nod. Better that.
On the other side of the door is the tropic we came for.
With utmost gentleness I remove my clothes. Yours. Oh, my darling.
I know it’s a risk, I say. I open the door.  

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