I hear him up there,
Up there in my ceiling,
And I can picture the damage
That his living there is causing,

I imagine him scratching away
At the insulation that protects me
From weather and cold,
Chewing at the structure of my house,

I hear the squeaking of his babies,
Babies that will grow up
To impose on my world
That much more,
The next generation
Of scratchers and chewers.

He lives right above my head,
And yet,
I’ve never seen him,
I don’t know what he looks like,
Or what he believes,
I don’t know what he had for breakfast,
Or even what species he is.

I don’t know what he thinks of me.

I call him a ‘him’ out of ignorance,
For I don’t even know his gender.

Still, it’s anger and fear,
That I feel most days,
When I hear him up there,
Most days, that is,
Until today.

As I sit at my computer,
In this warm early spring,
A day warm enough
For the space heater to be quiet,

As I sit at my computer,
I hear a different sound,
Not a scratching
Or a squeaking,
But a deep rhythmic humming,
Undulating within the silence

Of my office.

And I suddenly imagine him
Not as the devouring set
Of teeth and claws
That is my habit,
Not as the malicious force
Coming to destroy my home,

But as a sleeping
Ball of fur,
As an individual creature,
A fellow living thing,
Trying his best
To find food and shelter
To find the opportunity
To live peacefully
In a place of safety
High up in my ceiling,

And I am charmed
By the thought
Of living, not in a house
Where humans are the only residents,
But in an apartment building,
In a community,
Where we all must find balance,
Where we all must make allowances
For the others’ needs,

Where we all have something to offer
Even if it’s only
The calm, quiet snoring
Of my upstairs neighbor.

©2017 Annette Meserve



2 thoughts on “Snoring

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