Now I guess I know what happens
when a puddle refuses to drain:
Stagnant water that collects the bodies of drowned insects,
crumbles of brittle brown leaves,
flecks of engorged green moss.
Stagnant water whose stench permeates through every bone,
until the odor of resignation seeps from my skin.
A phermone for the disappointed.
My waters used to run so deep I couldn't see the bottom.
Now they quiver shallow
but so muddied I still cannot make out their cinderblock floors.
Sunlight does not reach
the cabinets in the back of my skull
and so the water cycle collapses in on itself.
The only way to drain is to drink.
If only this hemorrhage had not flooded my attic,
if only I did not have a horrible inclination towards this thing called denial,
if only I had used my tongue to plug the hole in the roof of my mouth
upon the very first taste of blood.
Prepare necessary supplies.
Retrieve the ten-gallon buckets from the back of the closet,
ready the mops, the sponge and the suds,
force my feet into too-small golashes.
Bend, scoop, heave,
accustom myself to the dissonant music
of water crashing in a sewer drain beneath my feet.
Try to whistle along.
Scrub every surface on hands and knees,
until pond scum yields and dry rot crumbles,
and the stench of mildew is replaced by Dawn dishsoap.
When my fingertips are white and puckered I know the job is done.
Chisel a hole in the east-facing wall
just big enough to cover with the pad of my thumb.
Watch the morning sun leak through,
glisten on damp ceiling beams,
lap away the last licks of refuse.
Don't pay the water bill.
I'd rather stay dry, for a spell.