Elaine Sexton

Hotel Recamier

Ten years later I could swear
the old orange spreads are now
curtains. We traded our double in back
for more light and this view. The narrow
single beds are brand new and we
push them together, a familiar gesture,
the first night. The chambermaids
are used to this. They smooth out the sheets
every day, our way, spreading the blankets
sideways to cover the crack. I am at ease
with this, this time, but find it hard
to be here with someone else.
I did not plan on this very same room,
the same cast-iron gate on the terrace,
the toilet, bidet, the same coarse towels,
faulty faucet. The water in Paris scalds me again,
fresh, this time, for bringing you.

Elaine Sexton
Hotel Recamier is reprinted with permission from Sleuth (New Issues Press, 2003).