Death in a Hotel Room

My skin doesn’t seem to be able to absorb hotel water.

Hotel water hits the skin and resists it, slides down it, or becomes hard at the collision point and tumbles to the shower’s base. It melts into clorox white and porcelain, pooling around ruddy toes.

Diamonds collect on the glass of the shower. They collect on my tongue, and it tastes synthetic — sharp and toxic, cutting the tongue, burning the roof, rubbing the gums. The droplets won’t settle and neither will the soap. This foreign body resisting the impeccable clean, these crooked teeth and the level shelves: their antithesis.

The shelves of the body are different. Molars rot. The soul swells. The anatomical heart dies. The soul is punctured. The liver fails. The breathing slows. The skin sags and in it are shelves; the stomach lurches and gut feelings are compromised. The world waits with an apathetic hunger for the longest time before partaking in the meat of its cattle.

The soul swells. The soul is punctured. The soul departs the body and now I think I’ve lost both. You’ve made your copies, but what of the damn archetype? Filed away. Flied away. A memory, or an angel?

Memories don’t rot, but they do age. Finite. Like wine, bones, gardens and anything else with a name.

Steam fills my lungs; it clings to my reflection. I touch it with cracked fingertips to trace myself, drawing in it ribs, a profile, long, flowing hair that doesn’t belong to me or this place. It doesn’t look human; it’s not even close.

Who will pray for me now?

On TV: Meteors, hitting cities. Dust walls and plunging darknesses. Blankets of yellow blocking the sun. You, not in a car or a bed. Blinded and choked by the grit.

I brush my teeth with a stranger’s toothbrush. The blood is alarming amidst baking soda foam, and I almost swallow it. Instead, I spit it in the sink where it exists as an impermanent scene of crime, until diamonds wash it away.

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