We were used to the roaches. Roommate deplored them,
but he cooked elaborate macrobiotic concoctions
with brown rice and cashews
that he'd leave on the kitchen table overnight.
The roaches thought he was a four-star chef
and brought their friends.
The roach motels were a joke.
A roach was more apt to croak
from too much fiber in its diet.
Our landlord was a corporation in the San Fernando Valley,
by a series of sunny-voiced women who answered the phone.
Julie — this one's name was Julie — advised Roommate,
"Just sprinkle boric acid along the baseboards.
tearing the building down soon anyway."
I ignored the brown-shelled buggers:
they didn't bite my ankles like the fleas
and they didn't eat what I cooked.
Once I killed a roach in the bathtub.
I sprayed it with Dow Bathroom Cleaner and
its carapace dissolved into brown liquid.
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