250,000 people live off garbage
in the capital city of Mexico,
right across the border, so far away
it might as well be another planet.
You are collapsed against the cheap
motel carpeting in the suburbs of Atlanta
no longer breathing in the residue
of semen and cigarette ash.
A few minutes ago you wrote
a few angry lines with the hotel pen,
your last words running into the hotel logo,
not enough to do anyone any good.
A woman in a Cairo prison wrote her memoirs
on toilet paper with an eyeliner smuggled to her
by a prostitute, the makeup smudging
against the soft tissue, blurred but barely readable.
She said then, when I began to write,
there was no more prison. When I began to write
What if I could tell you I loved you once
and you never knew, I was afraid to say it
and I could not look you in the eyes,
you seemed so far away and so close.
I want to say keep the pen pressed to the page
until the hotel walls fade and you find yourself
out amid the warm night air. Come closer,
tell us more, tell us why we love.
Originally published in The Ledge