Hotel Exhilaration

Under the light of the great reigning blood orange

Hotel Exhilaration, palace of yellow, more than enough

Refracting so much that I’m blind coming up

A scientist in the echo-empty gold-foil lobby

Expands a set of pink lungs with twelve slender straws

Stuffed into a trachea like life can be recreated, after

I ask him if this is what happy feels like and he

Smiles around a mouthful of plastic tubes and old exhalation

So I run skyward, take a golden breath, and launch myself

From a diving board on the third floor, overly springy

Enter the air with perfect confidence and no control and

I am a momentary comet disappearing into water, a blur

Of air falling up harsh from my nose over my eyes

Like dying, and now I don’t have much sense left

But for cool pressure on my skin, tugging at my hair

Embracing my fingertips, kissing my lips, airless

Grasping at my happy nerves and when I surface

I keep my eyes closed and breathe clean chlorine

Like every inhale is electric (he said this was happiness)

Breathing, I am full of filaments and wicks, sparking when

Oxygen rushes in, then extinguishing sharp as a candle

When it goes, lights off and lights on, I think about

Straws in my trachea, my life a reaction: over and over again

The scientist smiling talks about combustion, and I


Like the red air

I glow

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