The Airbnb has four wine glasses,
four mugs, not a single knife
sharp enough to cut the local bread.

The bathroom mirrors are hung too low for shaving
or makeup, so after a week, you find yourself
hunching. The dining table centerpiece,

a fine ceramic bowl, holds a clutch
of spiky European power adapters.
New construction, this apartment and all

the others in the building were snapped up,
furnished by IKEA, and left empty
for visitors like you. No infant

spoke its first words in the TV room;
no dog puked up its breakfast and stared, baffled,
while another dog cheerfully lapped the mess.

After your departure, someone will take
a crowded bus from the outskirts of the city,
where people like them can still afford to live,

and clean away all trace of you. Please
take off your shoes when you enter. Leave
the keys in the metal lockbox when you go.


HOUSE RULES by Juliana Gray



Photo used under CC