Vacancy

By Tamsin Smith

Smoke-choked corridors

Ash in trays spilling

Centuries of blackened books

Smote heir splendid stories

Their splendid stories

Survived by stubborn spines

Numb to the specter of cracking

It’s all boneyard now

But for one soul

Plunking keys

No one registers anymore

Not rooms not chords

Schubert, Basie, Monk

Struck dumb

Be voiceless guest

Dead languages clog pipes

At the Motel Ambos Mundos

Flora

Fauna

The least of what’s lost

It wasn’t even bombs exploding —

Packs on the backs of children exploding

Temples theaters parks exploding —

It was the empty stares

Stare upon stare in the streets of cities

Screen-blank masks shuffling

Past piles and piles of shoes

On beaches baking

Shoe upon shoe

Each staring

With torn tongue

Lone neon cry

The only sign of life

At the Ambos Mundos

 

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