David Ralph Lewis

Poet and Author


Count Down to Infinity

05 April 2021, Category: poetry

I’m working front desk at the Hilbert Hotel.
A queue of guests stretches to the horizon,
each person sighing, waiting to check out.
Some leave but the number never goes down.

No matter how quickly I work, more remain.
The amount of disgruntled guests is infinite.

The final bills I print out are infinite.
(Minibars never run empty in this hotel.)
I take one payment. Countless more remain,
credit card receipts spool to the horizon.
The printer paper never seems to run down,
clock hands never seem to count me out.

I do not allow my annoyance to come out
even though this working shift is infinite.
I smile, am professional, get my head down,
focus on my excellent service at this hotel,
occasionally stare out towards the horizon,
wondering how may crawling hours remain.

My boss sighs at how many people remain.
I know they long to shout and call me out
but instead they wander to the horizon
to attend to residents, who are infinite.
We are always at capacity at this hotel,
my boss never has a chance to sit down.

On my first shift I got lost, wandered down
corridors of rooms where customers remain,
roamed the endless hallways of this hotel,
unable to recall which direction was out.
The numbers on the wood doors were infinite
‘Do not disturb’ signs fading to the horizon.

I long for the wind, to see the horizon
of the ocean, to go to the shore, sit down,
hear waves lapping, eternal and infinite,
count all the grains of sand that remain,
just be for a while and breathe out,
but I am trapped in this cursed hotel.

My dreams are infinite with no horizon,
yearning for this hotel to crumble down.
But still customers remain. I never walk out.


Wrote this for Bristol Tonic. It was a fun excuse to mess around with form and try something a little different.

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