Saturday, July 13, 2013

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Not Far From Kabul

Black bug no bigger 
than a pepper grain
rules the bathroom floor.
He's on patrol this morning,
possibly a scout sent out  
to determine if predators lurk.

Headed toward my big toe,
he's a slow tank from Afghanistan. 
Maybe my toe is his Taliban. 
I'm reading the newspaper, 
on a cold seat enthroned.

Finally I use my toe to flick him 
backward, heels over head.
He lands three inches away,
curls up in a ball 
and lies perfectly still.

Maybe he's playing possum
or maybe he's dead. 
Suddenly he rolls over, 
staggers to his feet 
and begins moving again
in a different direction,
away from my toe.
a victim of PTSD.

He heads for the antique 
claw-foot tub my wife paid
a thousand for 
on a garden club tour.
After a short pause,
he disappears under the tub.

At breakfast I inform my wife
about the infestation of tiny bugs, 
species unknown, 
that may live in or beneath 
our lovely claw-foot tub.
I note they may have come
with the tub, hidden 
in its cracks or perhaps
in the cuffs of the men 
who lugged the tub upstairs, 
groaning and sweating,
both of them sporting gray 
ponytails and long beards.
I tell my wife they may be 
Haight-Ashbury aliens 
from Kerouac's time.

I ask her if she thinks 
I should call the antique shop
and have them take the tub 
and its bugs back  
and demand a full refund.
Silence is her response.

This conversation occurred
more than a week ago.
My wife has been silent since,
a device she has employed for years
when confronted by reason.
She still makes dinner
if cold gnocchi is dinner.
The tub and the bugs
remain upstairs.
Every morning I sit
with the newspaper, 
my big toe forever 
on silent alert.

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