After Hours

The guest room was nice
but after all the lights dimmed
she snuck in
and we snuck out to the porch
so she could smoke
and we could talk
and then she led me back to her childhood bedroom.

I’d gotten the tour hours before
but the interior
after hours
in the dark
was quite different
and afterwards
I went to the bathroom
and got very
very lost.

The layout meant nothing to me
and I was totally turned around.
In the middle of the night
I was afraid a light would wake up her parents
so no lamp could guide me to an honest room
no Beatrice would direct me to a feathered pillow
there was no Virgil to show me where the hell I should go.

Afraid to move
I don’t know how long I stood
paralyzed, waiting for headlights
to mow me down
before she came out
to retrieve me.
It felt an eternity.

I stayed beside her in bed
until right before dawn
when she returned me
to my guest room
which seemed much nicer
in the muted light of morning.

Breakfast was pleasant.
I relished the ham

and conversation with her parents,
who asked how I slept.
My mouth was full
so I muttered something or other
before she showed me the sights
of her town
and the train station back home.

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