Hotel Centrale, Rotterdam

I am awake between stiff

sheets tonight in room thirty

four, listening to the heat

tick through the radiator,

seeing a television

pour out news of the war

the war in the air, the war

in the Gulf. The walls vibrate

with video light. This is

no room for sleep anymore.

 

There is no room for dreams.

The shooting stars on the screen

are as real as a rain

of fire can be, falling

on some other city. And

 

here I have a star’s eye view

— the glide toward the intended

target, the blink of a bridge

into nothing. Do I want

to see that again? I do.

 

Who am I now? Where? I want

to be in that blue leather

armchair down in the lobby,

talking with the people there

about the stories we’re in

 

this city to tell. But now

they’re using their several

tongues to question the news and

I want none of that, want not

to fall for it again. I

 

am trying to fall asleep.

Those people keep on asking

all night through. Where are the wives?

How much is lost? Just what is

the story? In that, a small

 

glory — like that glow, say, down

below, as my overnight

flight ended, a greenhouse bright

as day, a dream suspended

in the blue and frost of dawn.

Daniel David Moses, “Hotel Centrale, Rotterdam,” from Sixteen Jesuses. Copyright © 2000 by Daniel David Moses. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: An Anthology of Canadian Native Litereature in English (4th ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2013)