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The Hotel Devotion

Read by Katrina Vandenberg

In the Hotel Devotion
there is no running water,

no power, no stairs,
no bed. There is only

the woman who holds
a river in her mouth,

fireflies in her hands,
the woman who bends

for you, opens for you.
There is only this book,

this pen in your hand,
your name the only name.

Outside, pigeons bellying
down the alleys of night.

Inside, this sadness
blooming in your throat.

Sometimes a handful of
light is mistaken for love. I

did not know it was a river
until I tried to swallow.

Sandra Beasley won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize for her book Theories of Falling, selected by Marie Howe. Her poems have also been featured in Verse Daily and Best New Poets, and in journals such as SLATE, 32 Poems, AGNI online, Blackbird, and Barrow Street. Awards for her work include the 2008 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award, the 2006 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize, and fellowships to Vermont Studio Center, VCCA, and the Millay Colony. She lives in Washington, D.C., where she serves on the editorial staff of The American Scholar.