Ben Gunsberg: Forgiving Indianapolis

I would like to sit with you at Velocity Bar
once your shift is up, Veronica,
once you have removed your name
from your lapel and hung your Marriott blazer
in the employees-only closet. We can laugh
and forgive Indianapolis for snow in April.
We can forgive tall girls blown in
from coasts, their volleyball bags
and matching sweat suits filling the lobby.
Forgive volleyball. Forgive the website
where my reservation has slipped
through a wormhole into another universe.
Forgive the other universe. Veronica, my muse
of available rooms, walk me down
the counter to a working computer and whisper
how sorry, how truly sorry. Forgive
tall fathers who have come to watch
tall daughters morph into windmills.
Forgive these girls, for they deserve
good night’s sleeps in queen-sized beds
before the tournament. Forgive Hilton, Hyatt,
and all downtown Indianapolis for filling up.
Forgive my layover and late arrival, blue
economy-class blankets and the task
of luggage. Forgive the corny names
of hotel bars, beery winds and 80’s playlists.
Wake me up before you go-go,
Veronica, it’s almost midnight and I’m hanging on
like a yo-yo. Forgive overhead speakers
and solo piano colliding with Wham, as I forgive
you, Veronica, for wanting to send me away,
for frown and consternation, for the end
of conversation. A cab waits
to take me to a distant Marriott,
fifty dollars from downtown,
where I will lie in the dark,
imagining how love feels
in another universe.

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