Friday, June 3, 2011

The Sewer Line Fall

The Sewer Line Fall
Geordie de Boer

        in memory of my grandfather

Melvin judges the fall while I dig
the ditch for the sewer line. A harsh sentence,
twenty yards hard labor. “Dig a bit more
out here,” he says pointing with his shovel
keeping me bent to the task and grunting,
a Semite slave and he, my Egyptian
master warning: “The rod is in my hand,
be not idle.” Under the house we hollow
a bowl below the joint where the sewer pipes
converge before making their exit
to the septic tank. Then, with a pail nailed
to the end of a two-by-four he dips
the tank, (an Old Master’s painting in dark
tones: The Sewage Dipper), pours sewage
into the wheelbarrow, which I push. Each
bump sends sludge sluicing forward in waves
that splash my face when they slap against
the back of the barrow. Thus, am I baptized:
The Wasted Baptismal, another painting
in somber tones. On Melvin’s command
the sewage goes onto Laura’s flower garden.
It scorches the plants and the fabric of
their marriage when she finds out. We
crawl back beneath the house to break the joint.
I sit, another clod on the dirt pile,
as Melvin, like a long-time jailbird, raps
an anemic tune on the pipes till they
give way. Sewage pours out wrenching at his
pant legs dragging him into the hole. (I
imagine him as a mummy wrapped in
a toilet paper shroud.) “We didn’t dip
the tank low enough,” says Melvin. “We could
have killed more flowers,” I say grasping his
arms. Escaping to daylight we watch as
sewage flows the length of the ditch, our toil
gone to waste. “You’ll need to dig that sewage
out of there so we can lay pipe,” Melvin
says. “And be sure to not ruin the fall.”


Geordie de Boer, a rambler and wrangler of rhythm lives in rural Washington. He’s been published most recently by Hobo Camp Review, Hobble Creek Review, the beatnik, Offcourse, and Cirque. Visit him at Cockeyed Fits.

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