Another long, sleepless night. I went to the refrigerator,
got out the milk, poured it into a saucepan.
Warm milk.

I was careful not to turn on the lights in the kitchen.
so as not to see the armies of cockroaches on the counters and the floor,
their numbers only slightly diminished
by an array of roach motels, roach traps,
boric acid, and multipurpose cockroach death chemicals
that I installed in various ways and places around the apartment.

Cockroach discussions with my landlord
brought on the same difficulties with the English language
that occurred in conversations about roof leaks, malfunctioning heaters
and plumbing. One November, when the roof was leaking in seven
places, I called him. He showed up at my door with seven buckets.
"Don't worry, I'll call the plumber," he said.

          forward         anywhere         lines