The Hilton on Calle 73

In need of a bathroom, I enter the lobby of the Hilton Hotel.
It is a structure of high ceilings and frosted glass.
I tuck my chin into my chest, look down
at my black, scuffed-up combat boots
as they squeak on the clean, black marble floor.
Frank Sinatra “My Way” plays out of speakers
built into a fountain cascading over black stone
carved like Venetian blinds. The whole thing
radiates a corporately-chosen blue glow.
As I travel down the river of caviar,
I feel out of place.
Out of the corner of my lowered gaze, I notice her:
white tennis shoes,
pace mirroring mine.
I look up: it is a maid,
surgical mask over her face, gloves on her hands,
directing a push mop.
Directly beside me, she cleans
the floor I walk on.


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