“You Find Yourself in Kansas City”

First published in Willawaw Journal

You Find Yourself in Kansas City

among house-proud women
and men who are mean with money,

rent an apartment, the first
900 sq. ft. you’ve ever had all to yourself.

You don’t mind that it is across from your mother’s
where she can keep you close

and at arm’s length all at once because
the space is cute – there is a porch

for your plants – and then you find
the HVAC for #8 is unpredictable,

or rather just doesn’t work even after the maintenance
man bangs on it with the kind of wrench plumbers use

in a show to convince you he’s making repairs
so all three rooms stretching from west to east

and the tiny bathroom, too, remain forever
inclement. Below, a neighbor whose dog

barks, whose stereo blares, who is surly. Soon
you will discover mice and will buy

crappy wood and wire traps at the hardware store
which you will toss away along with the pinched bodies

of bulging-eyed rodents into the trash receptacle
nearly every day despite the fact that the cat

in #10 visits frequently to hunt, brings you mice before there is sun
to play with atop the covers, a strange kind of breakfast in bed.