Kevin Young’s “Ode to the Hotel Near the Children’s Hospital”

Ode to the Hotel Near the Children’s Hospital
by Kevin Young

Praise the restless beds

Praise the beds that do not adjust

that won’t lift the head to feed

or lower for shots

or blood

or raise to watch the tinny TV

Praise the hotel TV that won’t quit

its murmur & holler

Praise the room service

that doesn’t exist

just the slow delivery to the front desk

of cooling pizzas

& brown bags leaky

greasy & clear

Praise the vending machines

Praise the change

Praise the hot water

& the heat

or the loud cool

that helps the helpless sleep.

 

Praise the front desk

who knows to wake

Rm 120 when the hospital rings

Praise the silent phone

Praise the dark drawn

by thick daytime curtains

after long nights of waiting,

awake.

 

Praise the waiting & then praise the nothing

that’s better than bad news

Praise the wakeup call

at 6 am

Praise the sleeping in

Praise the card hung on the door

like a whisper

lips pressed silent

Praise the stranger’s hands

that change the sweat of sheets

Praise the checking out

 

Praise the going home

to beds unmade

for days

Beds that won’t resurrect

or rise

that lie there like a child should

sleeping, tubeless

 

Praise this mess

that can be left

Kevin Young, “Ode to the Hotel Neat the Children’s Hospital” from Dear Darkness. Alfred Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2008. Initially posted by The Poetry Foundation. Suggested by Phillip Barrish, UT  Humanities Institute and Department of English.

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