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Published: Tue Jul 1 2003
Art by Jin Suk
A Hotel in the Rain

Today this place seems chiseled out of the weather—**
** if you could hammer a hard edge into airy droplets
or drive a steel blade into the staticky
encroachment of the rain and hew out
these however-many square feet
of contentment and efficiency,
with two-foot-thick stone walls and infallible slates.

This hotel, this haven, your bower or burrow,
Badger’s hole from The Wind in the Willows,
where you waken layer by layer
after the best night’s sleep you ever got
like a storybook creature saved from misadventure—
half hearing finger-taps, then lashings
of rain against your windows.

Breakfast under a skylight alive with rain.**
** Then go out and trawl the second-hand bookstores.
Inhabit the pub till the talk gets dull
and your bad knee insists upon return
to your room up the stairs
where everything has been tucked and turned,
and a sliver of sunlight laid on your windowsill.

Richard Tillinghast has published twelve books of poetry and five of creative nonfiction. His most recent nonfiction publication is Journeys into the Mind of the World: A Book of Places (University of Tennessee Press, 2017). He lived in Ireland for six years before moving back to the U.S. in 2011. He now divides the year between Hawaii and Tennessee. (updated 4/2020)

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