Nobody learns tennis at night.
When I confessed I had no interest
in a swim after hours,
no one shut the door in my face.
Of course, so many people
dislike the dark. It keeps the same
hours as the recently divorced.

We went to the best motels,
which is like sleeping
in unfinished novels. We slept
soundly amongst the teak
and twill and plaid and brass.
We left the window open
just a crack. It was relaxing.

But this was never our intended
destination. We ate our
continental and packed
for the next leg. You sang.
I read a story in a journal
that said a real Utopia persists
at a different motel in another America.


Born in the last days of the golden age of the North American motel, Paul Vermeersch is a poet, professor, artist and editor. The author of five collections of poetry, including The Reinvention of the Human Hand, a finalist for the Trillium Book Award, and Don’t Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something, he teaches in the Creative Writing & Publishing program at Sheridan College and is senior editor of Wolsak and Wynn Publishers where he runs the Buckrider Books imprint. His next collection Self-Defence for the Brave and Happy, in which “Motel” will appear, will be published in fall 2018 by ECW Press. He lives in Toronto. Visit if you like.

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