Ballad of the Noxious Neighbor

There I sat in my porcelain throne

regretting what I’d dined,

preparing for the day ahead

my whole routine had timed.

As I finished my protocol

exacting and thorough

the sacrosanct silence was pierced

by a tapping, hollow.

I inspected my surroundings,

with suspicion peaking,

and began to form a theory

of a faucet, leaking.

Small is the span of my kingdom

—to stretch more the simile—

a quick glance absolved the faucets

suggesting something vile.

Like the kiss of doom on my head

fell a single droplet

and another on the carpet

like a chaos prophet.

Soon the tapping became trickle

and the trickle a stream

transforming the peaceful moment

to a storm unforeseen.

Instinct quickly kicking in

I reacted and flushed;

and grabbing hamper and rug

out of there fast I rushed!

Dust and plaster followed water,

a true deluge indoors

putting together two and two

I marched to the neighbor’s.

In pajamas still and knocking

confused more than in rage

the lack of immediate response

I confess I inveighed.

My neighbor is an old lady;

the silence behind doors

and the flooding that continued

made me think of the worst.

Soon a shouting voice, annoyed,

inquired to my showing

I asked: ‘is anything broken?

or, like, overflowing?’

With closed doors and no sympathy

she just simply bleated

‘I don’t know, you call the super’.

I retired, defeated.

With my brave girlfriend enlisted

the super was soon called.

We heard rapping on our door now:

the landlady, appalled.

She too had seen the skies open

intruding in her bath

and when I told her the story

she was boiling with wrath.

She marched up the stairs, resolved

—and a little jaded—

to survey the fountain that now

two floors had invaded.

Eavesdropping like the utter pros

that we’ve gladly become

we followed the conversation

all the while she was gone.

After a fair deal of shouting

in Spanish and English

at last the landlady prevailed

and defused the skirmish.

We welcomed her as a hero:

she came down with answers

And while the flood had subsided

there fell some more plasters.

It wasn’t the first time she said;

cantankerous and old

of this quaint character always

a new tale could be told:

It was not rain or broken pipes

that had been our lot;

no: she was preparing her bath

and she simply forgot!