The old Undergrinder lives deep in the caves;
He grinds into powder bones taken from graves,
And stuff once alive but now thoroughly dead
(Unlike those Things crawling from under your bed).
He has gnarly teeth that project from his jaw,
Eyes grey as flints and hair colored like straw
That's laid in the sun and the rain for two years,
Which sticks from his nostrils and eyebrows and ears.
His hide is unpleasant because he adores
To rub on sharp rocks 'til he's covered with sores.
His breath has turned fetid from swallowing down
The goo that he brews from the stuff he has found:
Gunk that seeped down through the cracks in the floor
Of an old settler's kitchen in Eighteen Oh Four,
Old shells from clambakes lost in sand dunes' lees,
And roots he pulls off of the trunks of dead trees.
Acorn troves buried by long-ago squirrels,
And especially, dried bones of dead boys and girls.
I know what you're thinking, but please have no fears;
These bones have to age for a good hundred years.
Whatever he's grinding, he finds underground;
When dead things aren't close by, he feels around.
His fingers can tunnel for dozens of miles,
And when they grab something to grind up, he smiles.
He drags dead stuff to his cave under the hill,
To fill his Grinder like an old coffee mill.
But it's three times wider, and four times as tall
As any mill found at Ye Olde Antique Mall.
Then he holds still his Grinder between boney knees,
His hands give its crank knob a powerful squeeze,
His arms and his torso pull the crank around
And the Grinder starts making its horrible sound.
He grinds and he grinds 'til the Grinder is hot,
To make very fine powder he cooks in his pot
With water that drips from an old stalactite
Adding minerals to make his goo taste just right.
Then the old Undergrinder grabs his rusty spoon.
He gulps hot goo down, and he begins to croon,
And show his crooked teeth in a hideous smile
As he thinks of the bones he has dragged to his pile.
Though there are certain bones that he cannot abide:
The ones that are tainted with formaldehyde.
And since un-embalmed children are getting quite rare,
Now he buries young bones for himself, here and there.
So I hope you won't mind when he's pulling you down
To tuck your bones away 'til they're fit to be ground . . .
Luminator Thelms writes somewhere in Southern California, when he isn't working on his loving spouse's never-ending Honey-Do List, or critiquing works of other members of the (Monday Evening) Long Beach Writer's Group.
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