They came without our permission.
There was no introduction, no
consideration for the untidiness of our apartment,
the sink full of dishes, half a lime balancing
on the countertop next to the rotting banana peel.
In fact, they didn't seem to mind
the opened bottle of wine, the cheese grater
caked with cheddar. They weren't put out
by the refried beans in our trash
or the chopped onions and olives
on the cutting-board.
What else could we do? We tidied up,
said goodnight, and turned out the lights,
tip-toeing into the bathroom.
But they were there too, hovering
over the faucet, doubled by the mirror,
red eyed and exhausted.
They were above our heads
as we brushed our teeth, our eyes
fixed upward as if we were in a
renaissance painting, gazing
at an angel or the crucifixion.
The next morning you were already sick
of them. You stood in the kitchen
in your nightgown with a bowl of cereal,
wondering aloud how there could be
so many, how they could multiply
overnight while we slept.
You looked up ways to kindly ask them to leave.
We are not cruel. An empty spaghetti jar
would do, full of apple-cider vinegar
and a few swirls of dish-soap.
Our decency kept us in the bedroom,
reading on a bright Saturday morning,
while they drowned one by one.
But still there were a few left, crawling
on the blue tiled wall above the stove,
slowly navigating between the trash can
and the refrigerator.
Maybe we've just killed the vinegar loving strain,
I said, mumbling something about genetics.
Wine works too, you said as you poured
the deep red Cabernet into an empty olive jar
then reached for the dish-soap.