To the Woman Who Came in Through the Pet Door

for J. Brennan

When the nights became filled with flying
insects, humidity, June rain, you looked
for an empty house where you could sleep,

safe from muddied grass, the car-churned wake
on curbsides, underpasses. On Rusk Street,

you watched a family pack suitcases and drive away
in a van filled with dogs, life vests. All morning you waited

and when you were finished with waiting, with breathing

in your own sour smell, your Clove cigarettes, the sweet
reek of sweat, you pushed your small body through

the pet door of their house. For two days,
you slept in the laundry room, wore what you found
on the dryer (a man’s denim shirt, a woman’s tan trousers),

pressed your face into folded towels, held the scent

of detergent against you. You marked everything—
an apple, a block of cheese, urinated in vases, trashcans
as though all of this was yours: television and washing

machine, wax bowl of fruit, a bottle of beer. You left
before the family returned with sunburns, photographs,

jars of shells. When the police found you asleep
in the yard, you said your identity was stolen,

your house. The fitted sheets, dog bowls, jugs of milk,

you said that all of it was yours, the things
you should come home to—fabric softener, chew toys,
a lamp to turn on—instead of lawn clippings, concrete,

a bicycle that moves you past porches, bright windows.