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Crawlspace Apocalypse

“And I awoke, and found me here.”

–Keats

High-density polyethylene

encapsulates my underfloor

of red Virginia clay

and pale as snow a scene

that never was supposed before

but now is near today.

You'll fit in there, should that befall,

where bugs no longer crawl.


If you go out and look, for dread,

you'll mind a heap of hope.

Not expecting the unexpected?

It's at the door,* you dope!

Now only Tree of Heaven† buds.

Scant future's left to drain.

2,4-D's‡ murdering our studs,

and bugs no longer plane.


Luck favors the lucky,

or those with half a brain.

But things will soon get mucky.

Best come in from that rain!


*Cf. Joe Orton, What the Butler Saw: “Just when one least expects it, the unexpected always happens.”

†Tree-of-Heaven = Ailanthus altissima. Also called "Tree of Hell."



An earlier, very different version of this poem appeared in the New English Review in February 2023.

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