The Flophouse

The Flophouse

It was getting dark as I drove into Whitehorse.
All the hotels were grossly overpriced, except one
where I haggled the owner down to $50.
I got my key and passed the rest of the evening
with a local alcoholic—even entertained the idea
of sleeping with her, but she was 86’d
from every bar in town and only looking
to cadge a drink. Back in my room,
the bleak yellow walls bled obscenities
through a cheap coat of paint. A film of scum
thickened on the bathroom sink and tub,
and I felt cleaner in my own filth.
The recliner was so ravaged with burn holes
I didn’t dare sit in it, and the TV didn’t work anyway.
Fully clothed, I sank into the broken bed,
and I laid awake listening to the angry voices
and slamming of doors in the corridor
until 4 a.m. Then I gathered my belongings
and left in the middle of a blizzard.

by Ryan Dowling