Three Poems by Sophie Klahr

 

THE BOOK OF PAID ROOMS, VOLUME I

 

In this hotel, rooms are shaped like cabins of a ship, the wallpaper velvet moss. Late

daylight splits over the river into the room into the skin our bodies make—

 this room on the river a light you can taste.

Last week you lost your wedding ring at the shore, you’ve yet to replace it and I daydream

you won’t, but no one can really live two lives.         Instead, one learns to move differently,

to make air thread between each piece that is torn—                    how, if you break a bone,

you can stave off the pain by breathing into it—

 

 


 

THE BOOK OF PAID ROOMS, VOLUME II

 

Here is the story of Do Not Disturb signs, the slippage of hotel stationaries

pocket mints   lotions      matchbooks

 

the tarot card you gave me of a woman bound in chains or does she hold the chains.

The paper bag of cash brought to avoid a paper trail. Hush money, we laugh.

 

You slip the cash into my shoes, slip out to the hall to call your wife

and I watch the river / highway / skyline / hills

 

We must be somewhere, right?

 

There are words I still always misspell       Silhouette, Judgment       still

I confuse Lay and Lie

 

Hush Chicago      Hush New York       Hush Orlando      Hush Miami

 

Here is my handwriting you mistook once for yours.

Here is the footnote containing other women, other flights.

 

 


 

THE BOOK OF PAID ROOMS, VOLUME III

 

your ring striking my ringlessness       rattling in another lobby, alert beside our luggage—

adolescent, swollen, O

 

I’ve come to believe morality exists

 

with a great intrinsic cavity:

first temple, engine of faith, doubt field—

 

it is the fifth year of our affair.           what have we brought forth?

 

it’s fall, and we are staying in a small town by a river     we are saying

divorce aloud, saying       child

 

the interior of the elevator is made entirely of mirrors, and makes our mouths move

into the furthest possible distance


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