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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.

Sometimes I check into the hotel,
usually right before bedtime. Sometimes I stay out.
On the nights I return to my room, 
I avoid chatting with the innkeeper and the landlord;
I am all out of small talk,
and personal conversations lead to painful,
disappointed looks I cannot bear.

I usually ignore the other residents, as well,
for years of rivalry has turned me off
to their constant company.
So I slink up to my bedroom,
the only sanctuary I’m allowed,
and there I’ll stay until another opportunity 
to temporarily check out arrives.

I cannot remember how or why
my home became a hotel.
But I do remember when my parents
told me that they loved me,
but did not particularly like me.
I’m almost certain, at least
that was when I stopped being Daddy’s
little girl, and became 
the household hermit.

Carroll Community College, Westminster, MD
Faculty Contact: Dr. Jody Nusholtz, Associate Professor of English