How brittle, though built of brick
the houses are. A mother sits after work,
drinks wine in front of the TV, the mirror.
Her sons are there too: beyond the screen,
but her nails scrape the plastic keys and buttons.
Beyond the French doors, an Akita pants
in southern sun. Clumps of white hair
cling to the mother’s chewed cuticles,
so thick-coated, thick-skinned: never
meant for this heat. She used to chase
grackles, or the rats that sometimes
find themselves in the filters of the in-ground pool.
Now the sparrows almost taunt her: building
nests above the porch fan, the nestlings’
full-throated chirps. Back inside, her husband
sits in his office. A squirrel lives in the attic
above; they fight for what is theirs. At night
when he sleeps, she opens the French doors
and her robe to the wind and to the stars.