<i><b>Wicked Alice Poetry Journal
wicked alice| summer 2007

Lisa Cihlar
Drive-Up Motels

Sure, I would love to be in your wedding,”
I lied.

August is too damn hot for a wedding,
the bride will be sweating
and the dry cleaners will never be able to get the smell of her
completely out of the dress that already smells
of her mother from twenty-five years before.

And I don’t know anyone here.
She says she lost touch with all our college chums.
Yes, she said “chums”
I can’t believe she said “chums.”

And in this small town with a bank
and a tiny public library
and a gas station where you can buy milk and laundry soap and bait,
they booked me a room at the motor inn.
“Everyone from the wedding is staying there,
it will be so much fun!”

I drive up to the door, cross the crumbling concrete stoop,
and pretend not to hear
the voices coming through the open window
of the room next door, pleading with an unseen child
that it’s time for a nap.

The air conditioning is loud enough to drown out the voices
but only cools the air to lukewarm.
The owner is a friend of the brides
so I can’t complain, he is giving the wedding party a deal;
$29 a night, plus tax.

Back in the room after the rehearsal dinner
at the local pizza joint where I had one too many beers
and almost came back to the room with the best man,
or maybe he was an usher, they all wore black shirts and sunglasses at night,
I couldn’t remember their names,
I sit with the door open and watch white and gray moths bounce against the screen,
then there is one big pale green Luna moth,
the same color as the dress I’d be wearing tomorrow,
and wonder if I’ll ever
see this bride again in my life.