Dogs 2006

WOMB
(12/26/06)


I've put it off
for weeks
now

the thought
of venturing
underneath my house
to repair a
loose heating duct
not a pretty one
but the smell
of crawlspace air
turning my home
into a basement
insists upon
human intervention

so I don
some grubby attire
remove the outer hatch
and delve
into the darkness

leading my way
with a flashlight
and broom
to knock down
barricades of cobwebs
I crawl through
the foot and a half
of narrow opening
hoping not to upset
the brown recluses
who sublet the space
between the floor
and earth

digging up dirt
that hasn't seen
the light of day
since 1939
is not pleasant
as it sticks
like dry mud
to my clothes
and skin
the
dust released
by movement
difficult to breathe
smelling of mold
and internment

after about
thirty feet
of arduous travel
I find the offending break
and repair it clumsily
continually knocking my head
against floorboards
and scraping my hands
on rough edges
of aluminum
ductwork

filthy
and bleeding
I finish the chore
hoping the breach
was the only one
not looking forward
to continuing
or repeating
this journey

my task
seemingly complete
and the air settled
I suddenly
feel a calm
the relative warmth
of trapped air
comforting compared
to the cold winds
outside

I turn off
the flashlight
and push away thoughts
of claustrophobia
and insects

I feel safe
here in this dark
catacomb cocoon
buffered from the madness
of the topside world

it would be days
before anyone
noticed
my absence