When I Get It Right

It feels like liberating a hairball from the kitchen sink drainpipe.

I root around with a plumbing snake,
A steel rod,
A flashlight.

Nothing.

I get down on my knees,
Crank a collar counterclockwise with a fat wrench:
The P-trap clatters to the clapboards
The smell of rust mists into the room
The whole sink shakes
I shove my fingers up inside the main pipe and voila.

Catching the back of my skull on the edge of the cupboard (“Fuck!”)
I emerge damp, bruised, triumphant:

“There’s your problem right there, ma’am.”
The dripping tangled mass
Springy between my fingers
Mysterious catacombed matter.

It’s not like I can tell you what hair is made of
Or what precise path to follow should you care to attempt a detanglement
Or the scientific names of the asymmetrical creatures you might find
Should you take a microscopic head count.

I just unclog the pipes.
Sometimes they pay me.

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