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Vermin

Whoever said
Landlords have all the power
Knows that of which I speak:

Reading land leases.
Not a normal pastime,
but perhaps because
I have not read even one
written in compassion’s voice
and not retribution’s
self-empowering choice.

Thou shalt not
do anything
to attract
vermin
or pests.

No composting,
no vegetable gardening,
no careless garbage bags outside.
We retain the right to change our minds
without cause
or notice
about your little bird feeders too.

Vermin or pests.
Such choice of language
sounds King James Version jarring
denigrations of Old Testament
sinister degradation
predation.
I keep waiting for other pathogenic threats
like leprosy
to appear in these forbidding rental contracts.

And why vermin or pests?
Are there some vermin
royal white privileged landlords
wouldst not as well define
as pest?

Although I can think of pests
respectable people would not reference
as vermin–
or not into a live microphone
at Republican Conventions
for not least is best.

Vermin.
Why not rodents and insects?
Cause we know our landlords
are speaking pejoratively
of enterprising rats
and homey nesting mice
as disgustingly not nice.

So
if I were to put up bat houses
for those who would happily devour mosquitoes,
am I helping with this sacred anti-vermin cause
or offending golden contractual rules,
or both,
somehow?

How refreshing it would be
to read
and reread
compassion-driven leases.

To find that Impossible Dream lease
where all creatures are respected
and everybody knows
to read
and write
and speak
and act
in cooperative WinWin
playing nice
rather than ragging
on flies and mice

As merely pestilent vermin
infesting a place
that used to have highest
and best punishing value.

Standard

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