THE MICHELIN INSPECTOR
Eats alone in the ten abandoned rooms
of the provincial hotel, the paper stars
in his guide cut out and pasted to the tenuous wallpaper
like games his children might play if he could still remember them.
The notes in his anonymous book are exact,
coded, hieroglyphs for broken sauces, overdone halibut,
ways to escape his life filed in triplicate
in metal cabinets in a discreet Paris office.
Later, the bill paid, the receipts neatly folded, the real stars
erasing too and just as indifferent
to the suicidal chef as his invisible bosses,
he unlocks the revolver from the little glove compartment
of his corrugated tin Citroën and fires
into the undone sky, empties the cylinder into each threadbare tire,
takes out the Saulier streetlights, all three of them,
and sleeps, dreaming of gunpowder soufflés and repeating company miles
and an evening absent a soup course, an apéritif, anything.
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