Once upon a morning dreary, while I pondered coffee weary,
Over many a dish unwashed and stovetop splat with gore,
While I nodded, caffeine cupping, suddenly there came a wupping
As of gears all greatly schtupping, schtupping once and then no more.
‘Tis on a cycle,’ I muttered, ‘in the fridge, behind the door-
Only this, and nothing more.’

Ah, distinctly I recall it was in late March’s bleak pall,
And each separate dying coolant left its leak upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had bought the lotto
Ticket from a chap named Borrow- Borrow from the corner Store-
The bear with red suspenders whom the fellows called a whore–
Nameless here, for reasons sore.

And the whisper-light uncertain whirring of the fridge air-curtain
Killed me—filled me with spasmodic terrors I had felt one month before;
So that now, to still the bleating of my wallet, I stood repeating
‘Tis some motor’s entreating cycle behind the fridge’s door;–
Only the motor’s entreating cycle behind the fridge’s door;–
This it is, and nothing more.’

Presently, my dread grew stronger; I could put it off no longer,
‘Fridge,’ said I, ‘oh Fridge, truly your kindness I implore;
But the fact is my wallet’s gapping, despite all your motors crapping,
And so really, go off fapping, fapping hence and sigh no more,
Since I scarce have cash to fix you’–here I opened wide the door–
The light came on, but nothing more.

Deep into that brightness peering, long I stood there, warmth a-fearing,
Doubting the temperatures I was feeling would keep food safe to store;
But the silence was unbroken, no motor started from its chokin’,
And the only word there spoken was the bitter ‘bitchin’ whore!’
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the last word ‘whore!’
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the office turning, no change in my pocket burning,
Soon again I heard the whirring, somewhat louder than before.
‘Surely,’ said I, ‘surely the motor has not left us;
Let me see then, what that sound is, and this problem here explore-
Let my gut be still a moment and this problem here explore;-
‘Tis the cooling cycle and nothing more!’

Open here I flung the door, then, with the many a sauce in store,
Down there fell a chunk of ice from the freezer to the floor.
Not the least of puddles made he; not a solid stopped or stayed he;
But, with haste of heat like a wave he melted at once upon the floor–
Melted upon the tiles all across my kitchen floor–
Melted with a splat, and nothing more.

Then this puddle not beguiling my long face into smiling,
By the damp and dank deposit it was leaving on the floor,
‘Though these socks are worn and craven, thou,’ I said ‘are better than a raven
Finding messy-nested haven behind yon fridge’s door
What is your purpose liquid, lying here upon my kitchen floor?’
Quoth the puddle, ‘Growing spores.’

Much I marvelled this damp clumping to hear burst forth so plainly,
And its answer filled with meaning—PDXers know what for;
For we cannot help agreeing that all Oregon-dwelling beings
Ever yet are blessed with seeing mold above all chamber doors–
Mold or damp behind each window’s pane at every chamber door
Whose purpose: ‘Growing spores.’

But the puddle, dripping gently on the tile, spoke only,
Those two words, as if its life in those words it did outpour.
Nothing further then it uttered—not a droplet then it fluttered–
Till I scarcely more than muttered ‘Other molds I’ve bleached before–
On the morrow I will mop thee, and your purpose on the floor.’
Then the puddle said, ‘Growing spores.’

Startled at the stillness broken by reply annoying spoken,
‘Doubtlesss,’ said I, ‘what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy house-frau whose cleanser was too lowbrow
To have cowed and had a pow-wow til the shine came back to floor–
Till the puddles couldn’t croak that sentence (such a bore)
Of ‘Growing-growing spores.’

But the puddle still not beguiling my sad mouth into smiling,
Straight I swished a plastic mop back and forth across the floor
Then, upon the counter leaning, I took a pause from cleaning
And pondered, floor a-gleaming, what this puddle had in store–
What this fetid, foolish, feckless, filthy puddle had in store–
Announced by croaking ‘Growing spores.’

Thus I leaned engaged in guessing, but no utterance expressing
To the puddle whose damp environs now threatened every pore;
This and more I stood divining, with the mop askew reclining
On the counter’s grouted lining that the puddle’s glance stole o’er,
But whose sparkling grouted lining that the puddle’s glance stole o’er
Bleach prevented, ha! Growing spores.

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed by the trash-bin’s censer
and by the temperatures not holding safely behind the fridge’s door.
‘Puddle,’ I cried, ‘the fridge hath made thee!–by defrosting has it sent thee
Havoc—havoc and a lengthly afternoon to grow a spore!
Drink, oh sip this cleanser lengthly, and forget to wreck my floor!’
Quoth the puddle, ‘Growing spores.’

‘Damn you!’ said I, ‘damp of evil!–evil still, puddle or devil!-
Whether fridge sent, or whether March tossed thee on my floor,
Singular yet all undaunted, on this lino here enchanted
In this kitchen by mold a-haunted—tell me truly, I implore–
Is there– is there bleach in Gilead? -tell me– tell me I implore!’
Quoth the puddle, ‘Growing spores.’

‘Shut up!’ said I, ‘wet interloper! –interloper still, or yet a devil!
By that fridge that leaks above you– yet the food still tries to store–
Tell this soul with annoyance laden if, within the bounds of Eden,
You would find a fester-haven in which to grow some more-
A rancid fester-haven, within to grow some more?’
Quoth the puddle, ‘Growing spores.’

‘Piss off and be departing, damp or demon!’ I yelled, upstarting-
‘Get thee back into the tempest of the mop’s path across the floor!
Leave no mold here as a token of that filth of which you’ve spoken!
Leave my wallet still unbroken! -quit the tiles, I’ve got more!
Take thy damp from out my heart, and from the tiles, I’ve got more!’
Quoth the puddle, ‘Growing spores.’

And the puddle, still a-dripping, still is slicking, still is slicking
All the tiles gently laying just beyond the fridge’s door;
And his innards have all the breeding of a demon mold a-seething,
And the bleach thrown o’er him steaming has no purchase on the floor;
And my nose it sneezes nightly like a wind across a moor
still it persists—growing spores.