We saw the motel from the freeway
with its back-lit box where its name
blocked out the light
and made it look like a halo around
dark, contorted shapes. The place was cheap.
Andrew paid for a single
and said I could take the couch
and the man behind the counter looked at us
but didn't say anything, probably
because there was no couch—just a room
with a bed and no air conditioning—and when we
went back, he would have left, and a young twin
in the same brown short-sleeves and no English would shrug.
This was after I finished high school
by some crazy miracle
and I moved out to California to learn
how to paint. And my brother drove down
from his state above mine
and picked me up and we sped
to meet a couple friends down
in Las Vegas.
When I woke up I was wedged
in that motel room
in the space between the bed and the wall
bound up in a sheet too thin to keep me warm.
Andrew, I said. Andrew.
But he was gone, or too asleep to hear me
so I crawled
into the space beneath the bed
and the sheet slipped off me
and that cave was cold and dirty
and I fell asleep there
and when I woke up again
it was to a fast-moving darkness
and the distant lights
of Las Vegas.