A Man Renting a Hotel Room

A man renting a hotel room saw the predicted apparition in the bathroom. Paper
wrapped soaps, thick, folded white towels, gleaming fixtures, and this vision, its voice
like permafrost. The apparition ticked off items on a list of things it wanted, which the
man brought back to the room: a bottle of Hendricks’ Gin, a revolver, some roses, a
bottle of xanax, and a photo of a parrot the ghost had once owned. The spirit then
made preparations to climb into the tub and commit suicide. No, no said the man. You
took care of that already. No need to do it again. The ghost became confused, which it
indicated by a colorful flickering, not unlike the northern lights. The man sighed and sat
down on the closed toilet seat lid. He put one hand on the wallpaper to steady himself.
He looked at his shoes. He was exhausted, yet he still had some complicated explaining to do.


Amy Gerstler’s most recent books of poetry include Dearest Creature, Ghost Girl, and Medicine. She teaches in the MFA creative writing program at the University of California at Irvine.