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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.

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