The Guest as Infection

Poetry by Catherine Rankovic ∼ Art by Mario ‘the Madman’ ScottSuziCool15 001

I’d sleep on their linen,

eat their food, take up the air, confess

I did not look as good as I think I do

in their mirror. I kept the toilet silent

with a banner of ventilation fan.

I took the shortest showers, emerging

into the room the host wanted as his office;

for breakfast ate their Chinese-takeout rice.

I spread unease with coffee cups

like bastards appearing

each evening oddly placed in their décor.

I sweated. I shed DNA. They wished

me invisible, wouldn’t look me in the face,

and I cried as inflammation will, to release the heat

and dry and cool, and lay my cheek on faded sheets.

Carefully gone ten hours a day

so as not to discommode or interfere,

I found they seemed to hate me more. They’d invited me.

This they forgot. I hovered like a spirit.

They wouldn’t let me houseclean. If only I would go,

they could be themselves again. If only I were curable,

attackable as tuberculosis. They threw antibiotic

misanthropy at me. I smiled. I ran out of jokes.

They drove me to the airport, delighted by this one

last task, as an illness parts from linens

inspirited with bleach, as if their closet

had never held the two hangers lent me.

I was not family. I’d dripped toothpaste lather

and weird, unfamiliar shampoo, like pus

in a bottle, into fixtures.

They high-fived at my receding figure.


See more art from Mario at

Twitter: @MadmanScott86 Tumblr:


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