Trieste, Kiev, Malta
takes only a few minutes,
but gathering the courage
to lift in the lid takes longer.
Inside, a murmur of voices.
Tiny people living there,
famous people from politics
and the arts. Smaller versions
of the celebrities who haunt
the TV screen or hog all the space
in magazines. Smaller but
actually the same. Too many
TV appearances, photos
in glossy perfumed monthlies,
radio talk-show sessions
have resized them. Now they’re living
in my septic tank because
the atmosphere’s ripe with nutrients,
and the dark preserves their delicate
complexions. As I lift the lid
they protest, squinting against the light.
I try to explain that their presence
has caused my plumbing to back up,
but from their privileged point of view
I’m no one, a taxpayer
without a voice or status,
a mortgage-holder, credit-card
debtor, merely a cog in the wheel.
They chat among themselves in tones
I recognize from Vanity Fair.
Their clothing, despite the small size,
cost more than my house and cars.
I replace the lid, open the cap
on the main pipe in the basement,
and flush powerful chemicals
down to pulverize the clot.
Tiny screams as the chemicals work
fail to move me. So far away,
so remote from human concerns,
they tinkle like wind chimes
Trieste, Kiev, Malta—places
I’ve hardly even imagined
and could never afford to see.
William Doreski's work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently Waiting for the Angel (Pygmy Forest Press, 2009).