Kayla Soyer-Stein

Dear Landlord:

Yes, itís true, I uprooted the toilet

by dancing on top of it, naked,

as I used to do all the time but I forgot

how much fatter I am since I moved here—

Iím so sorry. Also, I stuck my hand into the tank

and fished around for that thing, you know, the thing

that makes the toilet flush, and removed it. Why not?

For the past month, Iíve been bringing cockroaches

into the building in jars, releasing them in my kitchen

for my amusement and that of my eighteen feral cats,

whom Iíd give up, but you know

it gets so cold in here at night, I need something

to warm my bed as I lie thinking up creative ways

to dispose of trash to get your attention.

The truth is, landlord, Iíve missed your face—

you see, I have no father of my own,

and no boyfriend; all those guys coming in and out,

day and night, with bikes are just my drug dealers. So

when I stand outside in the rain and pretend

that there is something wrong with the front door

and I canít open it, I ring your bell

only because I want, after a hard day, to come home

to a musty-smelling man who calls me baby.

Kayla Soyer-Stein is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the recipient of an Iowa Arts Fellowship. A native New Yorker, she currently teaches creative writing at the University of Iowa. Her 2008 storySouth Million Writers Award Notable Story "We Were There and Now We're Here" appears on Anderbo here.

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