Jun 12, 2024

The Satanic Majesty's Request

My one-room cabin on Hornby

He looked down at me every morning with a side-eye smirk.
Satan, with his bug-eyed hellhound always by his side. 
I reached out to him, my hand touched the pine ceiling, 
and he faded into the dark knots of the wood slats above me. 
I tried to sit up. 
My head smacked the low ceiling, and I collapsed down. 
Rolling onto my side, 
a mattress spring dug into my hip. 
A garbage bag tacked over an open window 
blew softly in and out. 
A sliver of light sliced through the forced darkness, 
throwing a spotlight on a spiral of floating dust. 
I watched the dust swirl 
while my breath aligned with the movement of the garbage bag. 
Inhale in the dark, exhale in the light - 
in for four, out for four.
My eyes dropped to a red plastic bucket under the window, 
a scream from downstairs shattered the air, 
and I shot out of bed.

The morning scream came daily and belonged to 
my deaf twenty-one-year-old cat Flo. 
It was my reminder to get out of bed and move on from 
my fixation with smirking demons 
casting judgment from above. 

Careful not to fling its contents, 
I grabbed the bucket and crouched along 
the wall to the stairs. 
The loft stairs were a hazard. 
They floated, didn’t have a railing and were too steep. 

Flo had watched me and her sister Tilley (now deceased)
fall from the loft and decided a downstairs bedroom was more her speed. 

On one of my first nights in my place, 
I took a late-night slip-and-slide tumble down the stairs. 
I crashed on a wicker chair, 
tipped it over onto a side table, 
knocked that over, 
and broke a ceramic lamp against the wood-burning stove. 
From that night on, 
the red plastic piss bucket 
took up permanent residency 
under the garbage bag window 
beside the mattress on the floor. 

Stair by stair, I sat my way down. 
I remembered the morning prior when 
I'd leaned too heavily on the bucket, 
spilling the contents. 
I watched 
my night's piss 
flow down 
the steps 
and 
seep into 
the grains of 
the unfinished pine stairs. 
It made me think of fish ladders at the Capilano River Hatchery. 

In three hundred and fifteen days, I'd tell my realtor that the piss stain
was Lemon Balm and Chamomile tea, 
a gift given upon Flo's death from the philosophy prof 
turned red seal electrician.

my bedroom - with evil pine knots in the ceiling

The Wind