The sink is costing me precious
concentration. Poet poet poet
it mocks, mating call for a plumber.
My friends suggest I should write more
toward the impossible, around the unreal.
I tell them my theme’s America,
what’s the diff? Water’s expensive
and money’s supposed to trickle,
the national pastime’s a diamond
made of dirt. It’s difficult not
to write satire, an old spout spurted.
He’s right: bills pop up, sense flies out,
a pitcher’s catching the faucet’s fluent
language. I myself don’t spicket.
* * *
The plumber does, thank God,
know his pipes. Chit-chatting a little,
we try to jive our slippery jargons.
“Long as you’re here, could you snake
the commode?” I ask (with a blue-collar
coyness — I might’ve called it “the throne”).
By accent, I’d trace this plumber to Pittsburgh —
the way he says “toilet” (twirl-it), the way
he says “faucet” (force-it). He asks what I do
(my skin crawls) and I tell him, saying poetry’s
like his business: if the job’s done right,
you never need see the pipes — just know
they’re flowing. His look says I’m full
of shit. Twirl it, I think, don’t force it.