Larry D. Thacker

It’s something out in the desert

A late shift desk clerk job
at an old roadside motel.
The travelers stopping off
carrying in a certain dryness
of the land you can’t get
by standing out on it.
Sometimes a thing’s got to be
hauled in like luggage from a trunk,
but real slowly. Invisibly.

Sensed from behind the desk,
over years, the swinging glass
doors, opening only outward,
vacuuming the sand-scent and sun
inside just right, just far enough

into the lobby to sweep over
the guest registry, the brass bell,
through the five back slats
of a rocking chair and down
into that oriental rug
nearly matching the busy
seventies wall-to-wall carpet.

A lot of the smell you’ve grown
to love is down in that carpet:
sand and soil, ground
and powdered, tread deep
by dress shoes and heels
fresh off the hot blacktop, but
still just a little cool maybe
from the car’s air conditioning.

It was always a war down
in there, in the carpet wool,
where a broom never reached,
where a vacuum cleaner
couldn’t even touch, where
the scents brewed, whipped up
into your intentional lightlessness

like a desert ghost of a fox
running through the foyer,
reminding you it was the middle
of the night. To watch carefully.


Larry D. Thacker’s poetry can be found in more than eighty publications including The Still Journal, Poetry South, Mad River Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Mojave River Review, Mannequin Haus, Ghost City Press, Jazz Cigarette, and Appalachian Heritage. His books include Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia and the poetry books, Voice Hunting and Memory Train, as well as the forthcoming, Drifting in Awe. He’s presently working on his MFA in both poetry and fiction. Visit his website at: