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Hard feelings don’t take to being caged.

Last week’s front page is shredded on my floor.

They chewed through the door—again.

My wallet is thinning from replacing the bars,

and they’ve scared off all my houseguests.

I called pest control. They told me to fuck off.

So I covered their growls with a blanket

and drink my coffee with my back turned.

I hope they’ve learned I can’t feed them if I’m dead.

Sometimes I decide to head out with the door unlatched,

hoping they’ll run away.

But they stay inside and leave their hair on my saucepans.

The carpet smells awful whenever they get pissed,

and I’ve half a mind to switch to full linoleum,

but showing them weakness takes my name off the lease.

Instead, I’ve invested in a pro-grade scrub brush.

I scour the floors while they sleep.

The stains run deep, and the soap dries out my hands.

Off-brand lotion is now on my shopping list,

along with a therapist and crayons.

I can’t stand the torn wallpaper, so I color it in.

Sometimes they grin at me in the dark.

It scares me shitless; they’ve learned to move the cloth.

I’m off to buy some zip ties tomorrow.

Until I remember that borrowed time

accrues interest like a bitch.

I switch my soft pillow for the firm one.

The sun rolls out of bed after I do.

I tiptoe to the kitchen in my socks.

The clock’s ticking echoes the burner on my stove.

The odor grows with the knob turned halfway,

and my skillet all but fills the microwave.

I save some time and set my backpack by the door.

I can hear them snore as my skull starts feeling empty.

I knot my shoelaces twice before pressing “start.”

Then I dart outside—slam the door; I run like hell.

Both stories fell. It made the morning papers.

No casualties, though the neighbors want me dead.

But I smile into my cheap airport coffee, cursing softly:

I’ve purged you from my head.


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