< Forgotten                  Remembered >

All Hotel Rooms Are Alike

The dull haze when you turn on
the only working bedside lamp
reminds you of something distant
you can’t quite put your finger on.

A memory of your childhood
when you felt a guilty knot in your stomach
for teasing the funny-sounding foreign guy,
when it was really just an amusing episode of
That ‘70s Show. Or was it Perfect Strangers?

When late night Ab Master, Ginsu knives, and Chia Pet
Infomercials begin losing their novelty
you like to call the front desk for extra amenities:
Lilliputian shampoo bottles, mint-scented body wash…

Not because you forgot yours – you have a suitcase full –
but to reassure yourself that someone out there,
other than your mother, cares about your hygiene.

You wait for housekeeping to arrive
to take them on a whirlwind grand tour,
proudly exhibiting all the improvements you’ve made
now that you’ve constructed a Zen garden
out of bed sheets and Feng Shuied all the furniture.

You request an early morning wake-up call
so you can pick up the phone and sleepily mumble
“Good morning. I love you.”

Only when you pad out into the hallway
to grab a strange city’s newspaper,
wearing nothing but a grin
and a flimsy sense of modesty,
do you realize from the gasps and giggles
coming from German backpackers,
that you’re far away from home
and that the air is suddenly very cold.