At the Last Hotel
In here, where they stop along the way,
the night porter’s taking care of business —
arrivals and departures, room service,
security and welfare. He holds the keys,
manages the risks, a visible deterrent.
He checks the entryways, dark corners of reception,
the unattended spaces. He’s the one
who picks up what the travellers leave behind,
collects abandoned suitcases and bags.
He observes, arranges meetings, monitors
trespasses and transgressions, writes reports.
Left alone, he’ll clear the till
and count the day’s receipts, and then
one elbow on the desk, a little quiet music,
he reads The Guardian or the Evening Argus.
Midnight amplifies the tick of the revolving door,
footsteps in the lobby,
sudden buzz of the night-bell.
by Ray Templeton