Late at night the cat translates a Persian novel while the moon serenades a bottle of milk, rubbing against the doorsill, one more measured portion of the endless caress.
A wing of breath from the cat’s mouth wakes me.
Then a quiet cry not of fear but surprise draws me out onto the lawn, leaving you
asleep while I pursue the familiar strangeness. A light upstairs in a neighbor’s window
could be an old man reading or a young boy satisfying his curiosity.
I will give you the ribs of a dried-up lake. The skull at the bottom I will keep for
myself. To drink from.
If the sheep wish to follow me, I will not question it.
I had forgotten the way childhood uncertainty can alter the smell.
And I was concerned about kissing, the way it can fill you up and no more room
for leaving.
The classroom in your body won’t wait for rain. The children are thirsty and the
lake is gone now.
But I will give you my small liquid furnace by way of introduction.
I have no desire for a life steeped in reverie. I’ll settle for that desert motel
flickering in the distance like an invitation. I’ll settle for a bandaged guitar case and a few
large birds, the ones rumored to harbor dead uncles and tiny collections of angels. These I
can use to wedge the door.
I won’t imagine the slow scuffle of aluminum claws in the bedroom wall. I’ll
keep such fears tiny and cold. A toy funeral home. I’ll welcome the wounded music and
smell the threat of life in the dry air. Even in The Book of Passion and Forgiveness there
is no prayer for self-pity.
It’s enough to smell the approach of rain when there is no rain. It’s enough to hear
the flap of sheets on the empty clothesline. The stillness recites tomorrow’s lessons.
Today I am arrived. I don’t need clouds to tell me there’s no one here.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.