Wherever We Are

Residence/Inn
by Daron Larson

Cleveland, March 25, 2011

The hotel room is roomier
now that we’re older,
largely because of your frequent business travel
which rewards loyalty with extra comforts.

There’s even a small kitchen,
though nothing to eat,
and a living room with a couch
that can become a bed for guests.

I pull back the curtains to let the light in.
You’ve already managed to unpack
everything we’ve brought
and sort it all into the drawers —
a tendency I used to tease you about.

The bathroom counter is organized
(his, his).

The white towels hang perfectly undisturbed.
Our books and electronics wait on our nightstands
(yours, mine).

How can we ignore the similarity
between borrowing and owning?
Is it possible not to notice that
home is wherever we are?

When I get up in the middle of the night
to use the bathroom,
I take care to step over the dog,
even though she’s asleep in the kennel
not far from where we live,
hoping to wake from
the confusion of her disrupted routine.

In the morning, we make the bed.
You find coffee and read the paper
while I try to let go of my story
until the bell rings,
and then again whenever I’m able
after the sound trails off.

On the other side of the door
waits a blend of familiarity and strangeness,
not unlike every other door we have ever
closed or opened,
locked or walked through,
alone or together,
for as long as we both have lived.