Out on the open floor
visible but for a moment
when lamplight washed the room.
as its kind tends to do,
it ran to a place I could not follow.
Time and disorganization
became its cloaks of invisibility
buying extra life
while I was forced to sit back,
consider the state of my home
that might have brought the roach in.
When you are so close to giving up,
it becomes hard to care about
every little thing needing attention.
Junk and loose papers and fast food sacks
building because who’s going to see?
Why put in the extra trouble?
In need of focus, this roach,
this psychological villain
kept crawling on my brain.
Indeed the whole day
I couldn’t break away from
the lingering sight of its big, dark, scurrying body.
And to know it was still in there!
That it may not be alone!
That it could be anywhere when I return home!
But in that despairing, a gift
discovery of something new.
I had a thing to hate.
When time allowed, I was going to dig
through so much time of indifference
cleaning out what should have already been gone.
I was going in deeper and deeper
knowing any moment I could rip off
a paper blanket and the battle would change.
To get there was to ignore exhaustion.
No more excuses because I’m tired
emotionally, physically, and I just want comfort.
How can one expect to win
when they never choose to fight
as if some miracle will make it better?
Garbage, loose change, forgotten books,
stuff that had fallen between wall and bed
I hadn’t bothered to retrieve
until now when my enemy
had made a shelter of all the mess
I wanted to ignore.
Deeper, deeper, the roach still hid,
still creeped around in my head.
Where else could it hide?
Bed moved, last papers lifted,
a look around the headboard
revealed infested corner.
Lying motionless on its back
I couldn’t say how died,
just happy that I’d found it.
A quick disposal,
a celebratory beer,
a night of rest earned.
And then a dream hit me hard
stirring up my apathy.
I could feel the dark of night sinking in,
decay of mind, periodic weakness.
Turned on the lamp and found
The mess around me gone,
and with it, oppression,
The roach was something in me
that I killed through determination,
no lasting anxiety trap.
Though the air around me still isn’t perfect
and may not be for a while
in this memory is a beginning.
I did something for myself,
vanquished an enemy,
released my first fraction of freedom.