Feral

The cats came to us having forgotten everything:

feral under the leaves, mange-stripped,

fierce bones in knotted crouch.

We were still peeling

plastic from the windows,

stacking boxes in their rooms.

We were surprised to feel this new,

lost along the back roads, everything so green

and tangled: black haw, huckleberry, Virginia creeper,

yellow forsythia glowing in the yard.

Food on the back porch, milk and tuna

in white saucers your mother bought us.

Even the wild ones ate.

In the summer storms, the many limbs slunk belly-low

under rhododendron. In the back yard, a river grew

beside the footpath. The kitchen

streaked with grey light, the bedrooms

washed clean in the thrash of storm.

The raw wood of the deck was still unsealed,

so that it became sponge-soft with the rain.

After, we found footprints—yours? mine?—

dimpled on the boards.

When I woke in the night, I heard

no rain and the hum of the house

gone into deep stillness.

What is cool concrete, and what is the absence

of the storm, and what are the boxes of napkin rings,

fitted sheets, selvedged tablecloths, trivets

from Arizona, the blue bowl speckled like an egg,

the books I have already forgotten fitted

into each cardboard volume so as to become

a solid block.

And then the eyes,

against the glass of the high window,

from the deepness of the window well,

the eyes glinting, looking in,

wanting everything with the pure

hunger of the body tied to itself,

wanting the tablecloths, the sheets,

the unformed objects in the shadows,

the light spilling through the doorway,

the flashlight that holds the light,

the hand, the tendons, the thump

of blood, the breathing in an upstairs room,

the dark sleep without dreams,

the rooms still empty, the emptiness itself.

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