At 2:34 AM
our front door gets smashed off its hinges.
I run downstairs, reach for something
to defend myself with but find only
a collapsible umbrella.
I raise it high, prepare to bring it down
on the intruder’s head when a blinding light
fills my eyes. You’re really going to hit me
in MY house?! In my OWN house?! I lower
the umbrella. They lower their flashlight.
Oh, hello, Landlord, I say.
There was no mention of illiteracy
in your rental application!
But dear Landlord,
I am a poet, whatever do you mean,
There was barking on the Nest Cam! she says
prying at the baseboards with her fingernails.
Half-eaten feces in the green bin! She tears
the door off the freezer. Short white hairs
on the sweater in your profile photo!
She places the flashlight between her teeth
and crawls into the ductwork on all fours.
She lifts the lid off the back of the toilet and
peers inside. Scratches at the hardwood.
Her hair begins to fall out in clumps all over
the carpets. She steps out into the yard
and looks up longingly at the moon.
I wait for her to tire herself out. When I am sure
she is sleeping deeply, I carry her upstairs
and gently remove her collar before
laying her down in the kennel
at the foot of our bed.
Ben Robinson's recent poems include the tale of a man who finds himself lodged in his condominium’s garbage chute, as well as an account of the Christian God’s foray into Spanish lessons. In 2019, The Blasted Tree, Above/ground Press and Simulacrum Press will each publish a chapbook of his computer-generated poetry. He has only ever lived in Hamilton, ON, on the traditional territories of the Mississauga and the Haudenosaunee.