Rain, now as all night, is tapping
in the alleyway that serves this hotel.
The skyscraper — the tallest west,
they boasted, of the Mississippi — where
last night I dined with the local rich,
dizzy (I) at the thinness of glass
that held us all from falling out at this airplane height,
half hides in the clouds, its steel head in a sulk.
More churlishly still, some unknown sport
has left a litter of dirty magazines
on a wet tar roof two stories below.
In the a.m. gloom, I can make out skin,
its pinkness, and a dark patch or two,
but nothing distinct enough; I am still up too high.
John Updike was born in Shellington, Pennsylvania, but has lived north of Boston for more than twenty years. His newest book is a novel, Rabbit at Rest, to be published this October. (updated 1990)