Again the exterminators have come.
There’s a fearsome word, stalking the critters
who are (after all) wild things never welcome
here. WE are rooted, are no longer road
and sidewalk creatures who don’t belong in
neighborhood hugs and secrets. We’re landed.
Memory: stepping on that first square foot
of land, a purchase in more ways than one.
Citizenship and stewardship partnered
like love and marriage, like crumbs and rodents.
So the exterminators had to come
to show we take good care of what we own.
They started by stuffing copper netting
into the unfinished-basement flagstone’s
gaps. They carried plastic baskets of glue
and wooden traps to set in logical
pathways, through four stories of living space.
And they’ll be back to collect the bodies.
We gladly pay these pipers to serve us.
We can’t do it ourselves—we who traveled
from shtetel to ghetto to ships, who were
never indigenous—not here nor there.
We won’t exterminate. We close our eyes
and bite our lower lip to flail at flies.
We pay the piper so our own children
will thrive. Perhaps in time we will always
have lived here, our basement will be finished.
The footprint of our home will have no holes
for rodents to slide in through—or for us
to slip out of. We will be safe. Belong.
Note: I disabled comments for April 2018, International Poetry Writing Month, because I am trying to write and post daily and experiment with prompts from other sites. If you wish to make specific constructive comments, I would be delighted to exchange emails. I also often post poems on Facebook. Public comments will be possible here again in May.
My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.
© 2018 Susan L. Chast