Maintenance

My body,
this house—
both require constant
maintenance
so I can
breathe
the smallest gasps
of life.

You move freely while
I am implicated
in your choice. I bear the
burden that ages me and
makes me
tired.

Could I pay my maintenance fees
on your damage
the way I pay my rent,
and my electric bill?
Always behind. The bills are too much
but at least I know they’re coming.

But you come
and you go
as you please.
The debt that you demand
I pay
is erratic
and unending.

I drag your deceit behind me.
Heavy
like a corpse.

The corpse leaks drops of blood
onto the wooden planks of the floor
and marks indentations
in the sand
and flattens blades of grass
onto their sides
as I pull it through meadows.

You still betray me
everywhere I go.

I tried carrying a bottle
of Windex
and a cloth.
Using that harsh-smelling stuff to
scrub at the stains
of your betrayal
with each step that I took.

But, indelibility.

Out for the night and the corpse
bleeds and
I try to salvage the evening with
a few more drinks.
Friends are unfazed,
expecting the worst
by now.

All seems fine
for a while,
but, in a meeting at midday, sun shines
through the glass of the window and I look down
to see
the corpse bleeding again.
Exposing me and
sending me home.

Once I arrive back
in this house
of solitude
the corpse is motionless,
quiet,
lifeless.
Behaved.

But it requires maintenance.
There is no way to know when
it may act up again.

And just as I drift off to sleep
in the early hours of the morning,
white light piercing through the slats
of the dusty window blinds
after a restless night,

the neighbors upstairs start drilling
for their renovation and
the faucet drips and
the old radiators squeal and
the dachshunds that live next door start up again
with their yapping and
the landlord knocks to collect the rent—
overdue, and
the lights turn off suddenly
and will remain off
until the account is settled.

And you demand
that I maintain
your memory.

So I rise from the bed, and
I dress
and I wonder if you would still think
that this basil green blouse
goes nicely
with the colors
of my face?

I boil water in the kettle,
its inside covered with limescale.
The one that really needs to be cleaned
or replaced.

I make some tea
and pour it into the to-go
mug.

Exhausted, I pick up the corpse
from where it lays in the corner
and he and I
head out again
to answer the house’s demands—
and yours.

And to
begin another day.