Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Hotel Winter

Not a deer
remains to be seen,
nose to the ground or bounding.

The trees let go their silhouettes-
snow still holding fantastic shapes in the air-
but have taken with them the nests.

The snow on the road stays on the road
in perfect silence.

Telephone wires still line the cold,
but the receiver, lifted,
is vacant,
an object held to the ear like any other.
Why listen to a hairbrush or a pen?

The staff has vanished, leaving
the hotel empty, though the lights are on,
the tables set with linen.

And if a few guests wander with
puzzled expressions,
they too are among the soon-to-be-vanished.

With them their thirst and hungers,
their scents and laughter,
the warm hollows
they leave on pillows and chairs.

Now the chairs are receding,
now the bad paintings.
And if we find ourselves lingering,
for some conclusion, some perspective,
that too is gone,

along with the view of the extinct volcano,
along with the washcloths.

Photographer unknown
Poem by Jane Hirshfield


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