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Lynn Levin's previous collections of poems include Fair Creatures of an Hour, Imaginarium, and A Few Questions about Paradise. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Boulevard, Southwest Review, and on Garrison Keillor's radio program The Writer's Almanac. She is, with Valerie Fox, the author of Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets. Lynn Levin teaches at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri and lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Listen to Garrison Keillor read her poem "If You Are Reading This" on The Writer's Almanac.

Watch Lynn Levin reading "Vacation" and "The House on Blackberry Lane" from Miss Plastique at First Person Arts Salon


Hotel Paradox

If I slept, I dreamed I stayed awake

all night. If I ate, I spooned the soup

of hunger. If I took a bath, I came out

covered with dust and sweat. The more jackets

I wore, the colder I felt. I tried

to rest though the springs of the bed attacked.

Like a good guest I complimented the cook

on his miserable chowder. I let my rival

wash my back, and I washed hers

as envy warmed us with its little stove.

Oh, to rise from my nervousness like a carp

from a dark pool or eat half portions when I crave

the whole poison. What soap can wash away

my foolishness or deep years wake me?

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