For the dverse prompt
I had walked this street so often
yet never noticed the façade,
the way it shunned the pavement like a criminal,
windows dingy, half-shuttered,
paintwork the yellowing shade of cheap paperbacks,
the name, camouflaged by time and rain
barely distinguishable and incongruous—
Hôtel de la Gare.
We ended up on this street
one night of pivotal tension
that started beneath the stars
behind the dingy half-shuttered windows
of a hotel far from any station.
No trains woke us, no cock crowing,
the curtain veiled the half-shuttered sun,
and the silence was like suffocation.
Years afterwards I still walk that street,
and the criminal shiftiness of the façade
glares at me, hands in pockets
and a fag in the corner of its mouth.
Just keep moving.
I keep moving,
wondering why those dingy half-shuttered windows
refuse to sink back into unseen shadows,
why that incongruous name draws my eye,
why we ever thought there could be something for us
in a place that should never have been.