Climbing the Stairs of an Old Hotel
by George Bishop

This was no hotel—not then and barely now. The freight
elevator, the only elevator, says so. So—I take the stairs.

At each landing I sense a fire door opening somewhere
without opening. Something’s always following you,

but this was different like dormant genes taking shape,
ready for some changes. I’m sure. Sure as I was when

I turned away from the elevator opening in the lobby,
seeing only the toothless mouth of an old man coming

in and out of a coma. Sixth floor—the last floor. The halls
speak of truckage, other traffic patterns. The door’s open

when I reach the room. Out of breath, I notice how bright
the lights are through the crack, that the indoor-outdoor carpet

is mostly outdoor, pieced together like neighborhoods no longer
safe. As I tried to imagine where the continental breakfast was

being prepared, I realized it had been years since I felt this
at home so far from home, so happy room service was dead,

overwhelmed that there was no chance in hell for a wakeup call.
I’d sleep—dream of taking the elevator just once. Just once.

George Bishop’s latest work appears in New Plains Review & Lunch Ticket. New work will be included in Naugatuck River Review and The Penwood Review. Bishop is the author of four chapbooks, most recently “Old Machinery” from Aldrich Publishing. His full length collection, “Expecting Delays” will be released by FutureCycle Press in 2013. He attended Rutgers University and now lives and writes in Kissimmee, Florida.