Brief Report

Landon Godfrey


The sameness of hotel rooms
always different.
The water glasses are wrapped in plastic
but not the ghosts—

tryst ghosts, press junket ghosts,
end-of-business and funeral ghosts—
even the ghosts of plastic wrapping
are not wrapped in plastic.

The hotel room foregrounds nakedness
like a beaker bubbling above a flame
signals volatility held in check

If the television is on but muted,
closed captioning describes the world within the world,
relying on stenographers
rather than cartographers.

When producers stint on stenography skill,
an inexpensive ear makes
I love you into gloved universe,
and you didn’t call into din and calamity.

And now in the t.v.’s silence
a telephone rings and rings in a movie's hotel room,
the phone waiting for someone to answer
so the stenographer can type:

The giraffe has a soul but doesn’t know it
instead of the main character’s actual line:
I’ve laughed at hazard control dozens of times.
The phone laughs too, until finally a maid answers,

precipitating the film’s conclusion:
Remember! cries the hero,
but the stenographer gets it wrong—
though we all get that one wrong.  

The hero can prove one giraffe
does know its own soul,
but through the stenographer’s mishearing
fingers, when the maid takes a message, she writes, 

The gloved universe is only an ember, a fading enchantment
seen as a bright fire by our primitive reverie. Please return this call.