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(photo of a bedroom)

by Sharon Chmielarz


I can smell it—the room's odors—from way

over here—cigs, stale beer, spoiled milk,

sweat, urine, rotten wood, grease smoke

from the hot plate down in the cafe below.


Wait. Is there a window? Is the photo's

frame the only opening to sky or street?

Something is open enough for a grenade

of light to roll across the floor to the mattress


where a woman could fall asleep exhausted

from living in a pen, the least of rooms,

a defeated room, lacking funding. A migrant

who may have escaped hands me the match.