The Contractor

1When God made me, there was a war on:
2Supplies were scarce, so He did it on the cheap.
3Oh, not that He produced a moron
4Or paraplegic by starving my fetal sleep --
5No, He laid a solid foundation
6Of bone and tissue for the little house. (If Mother
7Smoked like a chimney through my gestation,
8That's free will, not His fault, and I'm sure He'd rather
9She hadn't.) It was not on the basic structure
10But on pricier options He stinted. After the unlicensed
11Plumbing burst in an early rupture,
12The narrow air ducts blocked with asthma, and I sensed
13At the second or third attack that I'd be
14Spending my whole life paying for His penny-wise
15Pound-foolish sense of economy.
16And what kind of contractor, if any, buys
17Windows so worthless a horn-rimmed casing's
18Required to make them work? Or a double door
19That won't shut without metal bracings?
20I would have taken a loss and moved out, but for
21Something I found in the attic: a box
22Crammed with words of all description -- brick ones,
23Finely-scrolled wooden ones, intox-
24Icating, flowing silky ones. The fictions
25I framed with those words were more than enough
26To make the place liveable, though it's taken time:
27New front, new walkways, costly stuff
28Growing around the foundations. Now that I'm
29Renovated, I plan to expand
30The business: all (townhouses, exotic
31Holiday villas, commercial and
32Industrial parks) nothing if not chic,
33In fact -- why keep my great end dim? --
34My ultimate goal, in ten-point boldface print's
35A God more opulent than the chintz-
36Y one who framed me. Or the one who penned Him.
Publication Notes: 
Morning Watch (Montreal: Véhicule Press, 1995): 48.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire