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Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

I like to think I’m the ideal dwelling cohabitant,
I’m quiet, respectful, confident, and competent.
I step quietly, put the toilet seat back, and I keep distant,
and try my hardest to be completely unobtrusive and nonexistent.

It’s my mission to dutifully respect your time and space,
honored by the scraps you leave out for me in this place.
When you come home I quietly wonder where you’ve been —
as I’m only out when you’re out and in when you’re in.

Of course, it gets cold and lonely up here by myself,
but I pass the time with adventure books from your shelf.
I’m a slow reader but I put them back at the end,
growing our connection with the books that you lend.

I don’t get mad when you take something of mine left behind —
No — as has been divined, our lives are now entwined.
The few things of yours I have I guess even things out;
just small things — I promise — that you can do without:

A shampoo bottle, a shirt, some old photos, and barely some cash,
and an assortment of nice things you’ve thrown in the trash.
As long as you’re done with it, it’s mine for the keeping,
that’s the rule I follow when I creep out while you’re sleeping.

That’s me. Always quiet, courteous, and inconspicuous,
contiguous and exiguous to not be tumultuous.
Packed away in the crawlspace to give you your space,
surviving however I can by your oblivious grace.

Thank you. If it weren’t for you I might not be here at all,
hiding above warm drywall away from the snowfall.
For two months now I’ve been uncomfortably concealing,
and — thank God! — you still don’t know that I live in your ceiling.