Living Situation on Thomes Street

I was young and single and worked
for a megalomaniac magazine publisher
who often kept us past dinnertime.
I signed a lease on a situation I didn’t love,
a room under the eaves of a house in Rowayton
that had supposedly been a corset factory
where one housemate was nice enough
and the other never did laundry and one morning,
home alone, I opened my crawl-space closet
and found a large bird staring at me. I chased it
down the stairs, both of us flapping and squawking
in fright, and I eventually lured it out the front door.
The nice-enough roommate had a boyfriend
who wrote letters from jail while the sloppy
one had a friend who came over to snort coke.
My sick father got sicker and was admitted
to the hospital where until the year before
he had visited his patients on grand rounds.
Another day when I was the only one home
I found the bathtub filled halfway up with sewage
and I called his hospital room to ask what to do.
Go to the hardware store, he said, and rent a snake,
then call me again and I’ll talk you through,
which he did, and the sewage gurgled down the drain,
and I thanked him profusely and scoured for an hour,
knowing that I had much to learn before I would be ready
to become the sole practitioner of my own life.