Water Pressure

by Ashton Kamburoff

 

I.

When I was six
my folk’s basement
scared me
shitless.

And regardless
of parental
assurance,
shower time
was pure
paranoia.

I tell yah
it started
with darkness.

A stroll
through
complete blackness
towards
plastic walls and
beveled glass.

Hit the lights,
run the water,
jump in
out of
exposed
panic,
burn,
grope for
cold water
fuses,
discover
the knob,
scrub the
hair,
lather in the eyes –
sting,
and scram.

Because below
ground was some
futuristic space –
head furnace
robot being
that landed down stairs
from a gone out place
like Mars or
somethin’.

Machines
that got yer threads
clean
moaned real
low
and spiders
whose livin’ spree
expired
found themselves
petered out
hangin’ in sticky webs
of wall crevices.

II.

There was a pull-up bar
I couldn’t reach.

A light switch
that, when flipped,
illuminated
nothing.

Jackets
hung
lifeless
like their previous owners
from decades
past.

My old man’s work desk?
OFF LIMITS.

On account of me wearing
short pants
I wasn’t able
to comprehend the
severity of the
contents he collected.
Vice grips,
duct tape,
old magazines,
an ashtray.

So, mustering
pre-pubescent
courage
I searched
the last mid –
western
frontier.

III.

Tumble weeds
like dust
rolled across
red, green, manila
confetti stained
tile floors.

Christmas lights
lay tangled
barbed wire
guarding the
entrance
to an uncharted
crawl space.

I was
convinced
something lived
behind that
door.

Someone
growled up
ventilation systems
around
midnight
and shook
pipes
inside our
walls when
we ran
water.

Folk-lore
lead to
suburban
witch-hunts
turning up
old shoes,
shopping bags,
musty sweaters,
canned food,
and my missing
basketball.

I over-turned
every box
marked
“fragile,”
unrolled every
sleeping bag.

I swore
they were there.

IV.

Basement dwelling
demons
avoid
detection by
folding
themselves up
in out-dated
lawn chairs.

Salvation
my friends
lies in a sopping wet
sprint
towards an ascending
stair-case.

The Promised Land
smells vaguely of
shepherd's pie
and root beer.

Just remember
to turn the lights
out behind
you.