Volume 24, Number 3

What the Cats Notice about the Couple

That when one of them is gone
the house is strangely silent,
as if neither are there.
That when one voice goes out it doesn't return,
that its waves travel out to the walls
and are soft there against thinly hanging spiders
over layers of paint or curtains.
That the woman, who comes back first,
is hardly ever the source of any words
herself, unless when she enters the empty house
after a day of being gone
she says something to them whose tone
they catch a weariness in.
That this kind of barely broken quiet means
that soon they will be fed.

—Chera Hammons