Ballad of an Open Drain

Written by: James Graham

Pulling back the curtain
and wading through a cloud of steam.
I may not be certain
but in the sink there seems

To be a black smudge
that can move on its own.
Drying myself with a mildew laden towel
my certainty has grown.

I know who he is.
Waiting for a morning sip.
Myriad drops of water
pierced by his fang’s tip.

Approaching the basin with trepidation.
We know this cannot last.
I cannot brush my teeth
within this creature’s grasp.

Admiring his decorative abdomen.
Which resembles a zulu mask.
I grab a wad of toilet paper
to help me in my task.

First I’ll run some water
to see if he will slide
down the drain to “freedom.”
Hope as he begins to glide.

Yet of course his minute claws
can grab ahold of the drain.
To prevent a full collapse
and increase my emotional pain.

For we’ve reached the endpoint
and I have to leave for work.
Why should his life be less than mine?
His people were here first.

But that’s not how this goes.
My human size and might
crush his skeleton like paper
and flush him out of sight.