A poem by stained glass artist and poet Alison Grace Koehler from Stained Glass Poetry (Paris Heretics, 2020). Photographs by: Yann Lagoutte.

We go to floors seven and eight
to sleep inside separate walls
rooms the size of a glass shower
too tall, your feet will stick out
a television attached to the capsule’s top
the only station is porn
volume audible throughout the men’s story
hiccuping moans all night
I don’t even know there’s a TV inside my capsule
on the women’s level no one has theirs on
we are fifty, perhaps
I pull down the bamboo screen
but the outside light stays on all night
it peeks in through the corners
and I don’t sleep
instead I use the prepaid sim card
as I’ve done during these two weeks
on bullet trains, in temples, in public baths
to send messages to someone
eight hours in the past
this night, under white sheets and blanket
I ask him
what do you remember
the shape of the space between your eyelids and eyebrows
the way your breasts feel underneath fabric
what do you think about when you make yourself come
coming inside of you

he tells me, before I go to sleep, to cup my hands
fill them with cold water and pour it on my face
in the morning we meet on the level with a large screen
and vending machines
you hand me a cardboard cup of tea
and tell me about your feet sticking out of the capsule
listening to Japanese porn all night

I tell you about the light peeking in
from the sides of the bamboo screen