We don’t ask when that house will sell

Behind the streaked windows nothing’s there
No corners—it’s too dark for them
No memories—too moldy
Just swirls of dust
Where sofas and end tables lay long ago.
Tracks too—
On the ceilings, drips from disrespectful pipes
On the walls, grease from irresponsible diners
Heedless tacks tear holes in the plaster through which
The passions of decades escape and wheeze into the neighborhood atmosphere.

The grass remains cut, only because the bank sends someone.
If you were to violate this no-man’s land and peek inside for discards,

No dog would bark.
No envelopes have prodded out from the mailbox for months.
No nieces stop by to leave biscotti or soup pots on the porch.

Nobody ever gets off the 6:24 bus
That stops on week nights at a faded aluminum marker before the house.
Up and down the pavement, parents call in
The basketballs and jump ropes before dark.
Walk the street between one sad face and another.
You will know why no one moves into this house.

Tonight the figure of a cat can be glimpsed under one of the working street lamps,
Not needing to bed down in the home from which it strayed,
Because it is starting to find its biggest prey.

This poem was published in issue VIII of the Heron Clan anthology.

Andy Oram
May 14, 2020