Michael Berton

Night in Recife

the hostel
next to the swampy river
is breeding mosquitos

it is run
by a syphilitic man
with a rheumy eye
he keeps no clocks
in the hostel 

all the travelers
must submit in writing
their philosophy of travel
in ten words or less

there are no screens
on the windows
the ceiling fans don’t work
brown water comes out
of the showers

at night
there is a low moan
that seeps through the walls
disturbing the guests’ sleep 

everybody wakes at sunrise
call hangover breakfast
blur on white bread
chicory coffee
and spoiled milk  

before checking out
all guests must
take a sandcrab
in their backpack
then let it loose
when they find an end
to their journey

the crab will find
its way back to the hostel
for the syphilitic man needs company

Michael Berton has had poems published recently in Caveat Lector, Opiate
Magazine, 2016 Texas Poetry Calendar, Fourteen Hills and Shot Glass Journal. He is the author of two collections of poems, Man! You Script The Mic. and No Shade In Aztlan. He lives in PortlandOregon.

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