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A thin film of eucalyptus leaves
and drowning mosquitoes
covers the dull translucent surface
of a circa 1950s chlorine deprived
kidney-shaped swimming pool.
The cement and water bulls-eye
for a three-story, pay-by-the-week motel
called the Sleep Tight Motor Inn.
A sun-warped sign on a chain link fence
warns, "no lifeguard on duty."
The lifeguard is NEVER on duty.
Skateboarding twin brothers
stand at the pool's locked gate
and complain...
"This is messed up," one says
"they should like drain the fucker."

The motel's stucco walls
Are ashen and heat cracked.
Dark brown trim boards
frame bent window screens
and soap streaked panes of glass.
(Some shrouded in aluminum foil.)
Outside room 19
The doorknob wears a cardboard collar
That reads, "Do not disturb."
This amuses the motel's Peruvian janitor.
The two men renting 19
Have not been seen in weeks.
The handyman
has developed a few theories
As to why...

up on floor three
a middle-aged woman's
small, soft white hands
adjusts the angle of a telescope.
Positioning the barrel
Through a tiny gap between curtains,
she swivels it downwards
Focusing on the Rite-Aid parking lot
across the street.
Last night she studied the Seven Sisters
This afternoon
as the telescopic eye in the sky,
the digitized voice of a reclusive prophet,
she fixes her lens on earth.
Picking up a cell phone
her right index finger taps redial.
Instantly, next to the newspaper racks,
The drugstore pay phone starts to ring.
Hidden, she watches and waits.
Someone will answer-someone always does.

(c) Thomas Kellar 2002
Thomas Kellar