A gremlin lives under my bed.
He slit a hole in the lining of the box spring
And set up shop about six months ago.
“Jerry,” he replied when I asked him his name.
“Well, Jerry, I’m not comfortable with you squatting in my house.
You’ll need to leave in the morning.
You’ll need to find a more hospitable place to live,”
I demanded in my most authoritarian tone.
Jerry sighed and let out a humph,
before scurrying back into his nest.
He never left.
My threats to kick him out fell flat.
The eviction notices I served him
piled up under the dust ruffle.
I gave up at the end of September.
When friends inquire about Jerry,
I explain that he is an exchange student
from another planet.
“You know, an illegal alien.” I pause.
“Except this one speaks English.”
My friends nod, but I don’t think they really get it.
Now it is January.
And much like the record low temperatures outside
my relationship with Jerry has turned cold and angry.
I want him to leave.
Instead his demands grow more insistent:
“We must keep the thermostat set at 78 degrees.
“Don’t forget to buy more hickory smoked bacon.”
“Lights out at 9 p.m.”
A gremlin lives under my bed
And has burrowed his way under my skin
Each time I step on the ball of my foot,
the pain radiates in my second to last toe,
an affliction that is both stubborn and chronic.