A room blooms in memory, in my infernal memory. It leads me to a trip down Tawdry Lane and my consciousness drifts back, in wonder, to a hotel depot where I wait as though I were a nameless figure in a 19th century novel. Snow comes streaming down, howling with the manifest destiny of misery. I am going home, home for the holidays, which already birds in the cupola of my mind like a garish cartoon. I am still under twenty.
The room is sepia-colored, rich with the antique tones of poverty where lampshades are like old-fashioned hats under which the old light of the diminished barely registers. Here I am among the lame, the defiled, the leprous. Hour after hour goes by and I am terrified. Will my love, fresh, stinging like the blizzard which bleeds openly from the Iowan sky, draw me like a wound within the destitute? These lowlifes, even the sophisticated boys who are miles behind me at school, surround me sublimely—the pitiless in the ranks of hell.
My blue dress, my cowboy boots, my beauty in a tarnished room—little of it, unlike the storm, will pass. After all, I always take the postal route home, glad to see the bus driver hand out soiled packages at decayed towns, like necessary gifts for the dead.