by Stephen Dunn
The room has no choice.
Everything that’s spoken in it
it absorbs. And it must put up with
the bad flirt, the overly perfumed,
the many murderers of mood—
with whoever chooses to walk in.
If there’s a crowd, one person
is certain to be concealing a sadness,
another will have abandoned a dream,
at least one will be a special agent
for his own cause. And always
there’s a functionary,