Do Not Disturb

Some of the soldiers
were lonely innkeepers
whose job during slow times
at night
was to count the
eyes,
matching the number
two to a guest-body
hoping against hope
to have nothing left over,
nothing extra to account for;
between check-ins
imagining
where the bags would
eventually
go
to the funeral parlors
in towns with
three churches,
one general store
and a civil war monument
bigger than
the gas station;
since eyeballs
take a long while
to lose
their glisten,
the evening’s concierge
desperately tried to seal
all the lids
keeping guests
in the dark,
keeping them still
or they’d flutter,
and rustle their
plastic shrouds
insisting they were
in line first
every time a chopper
set down
another load.

Constance Lee Menefee
Copyright 2000