Instructions for the House Sitter

I.
To be thrown in the black container by the curb:
carcasses picked clean, torn blouses,
knives bent beyond repair.
Always the trash collectors
come with their early Tuesday morning
reproaches. Pay them no mind.

II.
Best not interfere with the plants.
They are engaged in a civil war,
root against root. Daily, vegetation
comes into this world unnamed.

III.
Ignore the alarm that sounds nightly,
the Doppler effect from sirens approaching,
the police officers with their
nightsticks and clean shaves.
They will ask for the code.
It is Judas. Do not tell them.

IV.
Refill the dog’s dish in the evening.
But do not walk him unless
you are prepared to go as he does,
on all fours, weathering bloody knees,
hours of solitude.

V.
The cat, once out of the house,
will climb to the neighbor’s roof.
You will hear him cry.
He cannot get down.
The rain will start,
winds will tear down the power lines,
the whole hillside will go dark.

Jessica Goodheart

 

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