Martin Elster: A New Lease

You offered me a brand new lease
along with a large rent increase,
but since I am no Rockefeller,
I’ll soon be moving from your cellar.

I will not miss the lack of heat
in winter when my hands and feet
are fish and frogs beneath ice water
cold enough to kill an otter.

I will not miss the airlessness
inside this cave in summer, less
the motorcycles, sirens, horns,
far more injurious than thorns.

Nor will I long to hear the noise
of babies, toys, and rowdy boys
that make the ceiling’s floorboards rattle
as if from hooves of panicked cattle.

This pad’s become a jumbo drum,
their frightful pan-de-mo-ni-um
more wounding of my calm than curses
(through which I’ve, somehow, written verses).

One matter, though, will cause me worry:
my tiny pals that perch or scurry.
House spiders, cellar spiders, small
as atoms, big as moons, they crawl

or dangle, hunt like wolves at night,
rappel down walls, or just sit tight.
I’m troubled when, for weeks, no patter
of bug feet nears a starved one’s platter.

I know that you’ll exterminate
my roommates when you renovate.
No, I won’t go! I’ll pay the rent,
and deem those greenbacks quite well-spent!