In keeping with the apartment theme from last week:
A stucco kitchen floor,
And an English garden—
In a suburban apartment,
Especially in comparison
To our last cramped place.
We’d have the first floor—
The owner, a lovely
British woman, lived
On the second level.
One heating system for both spaces.
She left town each weekend.
We signed the one-year contract
In summer, and placed clothing
In the armoires and my desk in the
Corner to write grad class papers.
The first weekend on the patio
Squirrels dropped apples on our heads,
But the dahlias, in every size and hue,
And butterflies brightened our spirits.
The humidity was incessant—
No matter how many times we
Scrubbed, the mushrooms
Returned in bathroom crooks.
Come fall, the wasps marched
Into the living room to die.
Come winter, the fireplace
Released plumes of tar smoke.
We did not control the heat—
She complained it was too hot.
I washed dishes in my winter coat,
Typed papers wearing fingerless gloves.
My breath came out in cloudbursts
In the bedroom ‘til we bought a space heater.
She complained about the electric bill.
We broke our lease two months early.
With a baby on the way,
There was No Way we could stay.
The lovely landlady was in her garden,
Which was returning to its former glory.
She sighed and said
She didn’t know why tenants stayed only one year….