Rooms for Tourists

(After the painting by Edward Hopper)
We found the boarding house sleeping
in an off track part of town.
Its clapboard walls seemed built for us –
held a special kind of quiet
not many folk could tolerate. You heard this first,
how wood absorbed the wind’s purr,
the fading bird song. An infinite September, you said.
Most of all you liked the inner light:
honey in the thick night,
like something oozed from darkness, and set.
It lures a special kind of moth,
torn between the moon and sun,
a special kind of shadow, longing to be swallowed.
You liked the windows too,
their heavy lidded awnings holding
half their world from view, asking questions:
how different from a secret is a lie?
Because you knew the answer,
I followed you inside, the perfect place for us to hide. 

Paul McDonald is Course Leader for Creative Writing at the University of Wolverhampton. He is the author of several novels, critical books, and has poetry collections with Flarestack, Cinnamon Press, and Indigo Dreams Press.  His poems and stories have won prizes and been shortlisted in numerous competitions including the Ottakars/Faber and Faber Poetry Competition, The John Clare Poetry Prize, The Sentinel Prize, Bedford International Writing Competition, the Retreat West Flash Fiction Prize, and the Bridport Prize.