Winter 2024 • Vol. XLVI No. 1 Poetry |

Hotel

Then I was again
that vacant room. Guests were 

various: my death again 
and beautiful. Then again, 

in different dress. Once, 
in a jacquard suit 

tapped my goat-hoof, 
looking out the fogged window—

that’s my Janus eye—
watching a crew

replace the backlights 
of a billboard. Once, 

with a beard of locusts, 
lips of cold steel, a silica tongue. 

Once, in satin sat to smoke 
and leaned a plastic ear

against the warming 
wall of me. New century.

A closing throat. Not closed.
I love my killed familiars.
Photo of Safa Khatib

Safa Khatib is a poet and translator living in St. Louis. She is the author of Instances of Ishtar (Bloomsbury, 2024).

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I could say that my pleasure, beneath him, was a meadow, dark in places, brighter in others, and that at the farthest edge there grew pleasure’s more unruly varieties— Rapture. […]

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