l e m u r s i n t h e p l u m b i n g
B . D I E T R I C H
I have to wonder why I'm not more
surprised at this, the latest intrusion.
It's not as if I'd been expecting
relatives to swing by, but going
down to the basement felt like coming
home, all pounce and prehensile madness.
They must've been there for quite a while,
hooting it up, brachiating
like long-limbed laurels-hardy, hungry,
full of dark and Darwin. Their fingerprints
stucco the nickel plating like whorled dimes,
and banana peels, funky with silt,
saliva, age, drape from each elbow joint.
This is why I haven't been able
to take a bath in days, why I've grown
fragrant, unkempt, wild. I keep finding
strange leavings in the drain. Hairballs, steaming
monkey business. Everything below - the waste,
what crap we've amassed in vast domestic
intestines - has turned to jungle. Worse,
every time I descend, I can't help but think
they've multiplied. Now I know they're not
a serious bother, nothing like finding,
say, a clutch of classics scholars lurking
lunatic behind the furnace, but lemurs
(in the suburbs!) this must mean something.
I tried, of course, believing in them
at first. Feeding them. Leaving the garbage
downstairs. But this just made them mad.
Attempts at bonding, an utter cluster
fuck. So I was left, then, with leaving them
alone...that, or prayer. Now I no
longer know what goes on down there. I'm sure
there's more, there's always more. But beyond
that, beyond the certainty of a cellar
settling in to its own unsettling
circus, beyond the fear of small black hands
prying their way up into this world,
I only know this: I have to keep them