The Iron

Ed Skoog

My son likes to stay in hotelsbecause they have great pools,but what I like is ironing a shirtwith the iron the hotel supplieson the board that folds into the wall,with the TV low, and whateverweather is going on outsidein its most intense and local phase,and what I feel in those momentsis both anonymous and myself,not father, not son. My motherwas full of warnings about hotels.One warning was never leave a glassbeside your bed, or you may flingout your hand and slice your wrist.And so I don’t. But then my son,back from the swimming pool, saysif you die wearing glassesyour ghost will wear glasses.I like to take off my glasses entering,then go to the window and look out.

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Photo:
Jennifer Marquis

Ed Skoog’s fourth book of poems, Travelers Leaving for the City, was published in May by Copper Canyon Press. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New Republic, Poetry, and American Poetry Review

Travelers Leaving for the City is a long song of arrivals and departures, centered around the murder of the poet’s grandfather in 1955 in a Pittsburgh hotel, exploring how such events frame memory, history and language for those they touch. The poems probe the anonymity of cities, and the crucible of travel. The historical impact of arousal, rage, regret, and forgiveness is seen in visions of interrogations and hotels. These poems explore how family bonds, and disruptions shape, the mind and language, all the while urging the reader to listen for traces of ancestors in one’s own mind and body. (Copper Canyon Press)

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