I had to push myself
away from the window to watch TV,
even the Democratic convention,
police marching behind shields
And all that summer, I was mindful
of what I was using up,
water, paper, daylight, even the thoughts
going through my head.
Paula had lent me the apartment.
Shed gone to the country,
an abandoned farm where hunters wintered
I imagined bats wheeling around
the dome of a barn, and below,
children on bikes, echoing their shrieks.
Later, parents who read bedtime stories
very fast, racing sleep.
I was here because I had walked out of my life.
I was a floater,
like those first-year birds
who wait for the chance to swoop down
and quickly replace the territorial bird.
There were plants to water,
but I could leave them, Paula said.
Dark green succulents
that stuck up like thumbs.
The tables were topped
with collections of shells and stones.
But so little could I find
in this place that I wanted,
string and fasteners in a kitchen drawer,
a melonballer. I ate
in the coffee shop around the corner
where cakes were left in a glass pillar,
their icings hardening like paint.
Once, I let in the immigrant janitor
to fix a leak, but after that
I kept it dark and no one came.