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.