Hotel

I'm thinking of those who blister
beneath bland words,
boil at banal exposure 
to something so simple,
so downright alkaline,
the rest of the world
wonders what's wrong.

It wasn't like I demanded
how dare you be at the desk, 
asking directions to your room,
as if you were inconspicuous.
Called you a pig,
or maligned your name 
in some burst tongue, 
taking your identity in vain. 
It wasn't like I stared
at your shit-stained sleeve,
or noted that gravely sound  
bubbling from your throat.
Far be it for me to judge
whether you drink or smoke
or just get congested from life.
No, all I said was hello.
Yet how you stared at me,
like I was daughter of the devil,
singed at the edges, smokey smelling,
edging too close to your truth.

I wonder what you'll do 
when it's my turn to get a key. 
I wonder what you'll do 
when you hear my own story.
I wonder what more's behind yours.
Go ahead. 
Ask the question. 
Pop. 

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