Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Air Duct Day

Today’s not a bad day
for cleaning the air ducts.
We’ll wait for Jeanine
who’s been off her crutches
for a week and ready to help.
Sanjay will be late
but the rest of the team
is here, in the kitchen.
Last year we found a bird
in the filter. It’s leg hung down
between the metal grate.
Ken thought it was a twig
and pulled it, feeling resistance.
It didn’t stink. The wind
had dried it out. Ten months
since we last cleaned it. I hope
Nate didn’t forget the solvent.
Dirt’s not the main problem.
It’s the grease. The air’s lanolin.
The vent’s heat. The engine’s perspiration.
The fan slows for the first time this year
and stops. Jeanine’s arrived and opens
the windows, putting the flat
on bypass. She smiles and limps.
We climb into the ceiling
and start to clean,
padding on buckling metal sheets
in pitch black. Sanjay passes me
two mechanic’s lamps.
I hook them to the wall
and feel for the switch.

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