Chloe Honum

The Motel


On the outskirts of a thundering town,
I checked in. My hair was swingy with rain,
my umbrella blown inside out.
The cement stairs went up and up;

had they risen one flight higher
I might have slept in a palace of violet
and silver clouds. As it was, my room
was an ugly place to miss you from,

with thin carpet and curtains
that seemed to exhale dust.
Seeing myself in the speckled mirror,
I lay flat on the bed. In my hand was a map

of the motel on which the clerk
had circled my home for the night—
among a series of doors,
a blurry number inside a drop of rain.

Chloe Honum is the author of The Tulip-Flame, winner of Foreword Review’s Book of the Year Award, and a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award. She was raised in Auckland, New Zealand.