The Intruder

Evil seeped through floorboards.
Only the dead could endure it.
From a faint bud it blossomed
into a putrid flower
stuffing every pore, rank as hell.
So I imagined
a dead whale beneath the house
in blubbery liquefaction,
or corpses bloated with gas,
or death itself, if it has a smell.

The red velvet of my guitar case
began to stink.
We called a professional.

I led him to the crawl space vent
where it reeked so thickly
I thought the air had died.
Gowned and masked
for his grotesque midwifery,
he pulled a rigid possum out,
pink tail curled like a stiff worm dangling,
fur falling out in chunks
like some cheap carnival toy.

And the sharp-toothed grin
on that pointed face
with its obsidian eyes
looked mean, even vengeful,
as if he decomposed to spite us.

C. E. Chaffin