Hotel Earth

illustration of a building's ornately corniced roofline and windows
Gabriela Pesqueira

Cornices overgrown with moss, the stoop
With nettles, flower beds
Hardly discernible beneath brambles and weeds—

Next door was a place where drinks
Were sold, so I ordered
A glass of red wine. The Earth?

For years it never changed, said the bartender.
Now kids won’t come around at night.
Doors close by themselves

As if clouds were gathering—bang!
Footsteps climb the staircase, one, two—

I paid the tab. Does anything stay

There—hatred, the capacity for love?
There’s the baby in the red striped sweater
Against blue sky, my left hand

Holding her, my right the camera.
She’s smiling at you.
We’re invisible, like the sea.

This poem appears in the September 2022 print edition.