As If the Roaches by Alinda Wasner

lurking on the seam of the refrigerator
door waiting for me to open it
so they can scurry in,
or the big ones in the stove
that shoot out like flames
when you light the burner
or the dead carcasses
in the teapot
in the toaster
or in the baby’s diaper
and the fact that no one
can use the toilet
if someone’s in the shower
because it’s directly over
or the nightly sound of gunfire,
were not enough
but tonight
there’s someone in the alley
dying beneath the bedroom window
and I crawl across the floor
on my belly like a serpent
lift the baby from his
cradle
bring him
down here with me
and try to get my shaking fingers
in the dial
and try to wake my husband
who is impossible
once his head
has hit the pillow
and I’m thinking if I had the money
for a one way ticket
I’d swallow nails
I’d go back home
convince my mother
I’ll divorce the idiot
who thinks he has to live
in the same tenement
as the people
in his parish
and what is there and who
to pray to
in such a situation?
but she’ll tell me
I’ve made my bed
I have to lie in it
and after the police come
I will lie in it.

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3 Responses

  1. very gritty. I love it.

  2. a great goddamned poem in a world full of so many terrible ones!

  3. Entirely too real! Both the emotional details and the physical ones brought me right there, especially the cockroaches in the fridge seams. Great strength.

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