How To Deal With An Intruder
by Suzanne O’Connell

The sound woke me up.
Thump drag, thump drag, thump drag.
It was coming from the attic.
Maybe a feral cat, I thought.
But if so, it was a really big cat.

I got the ladder, climbed barefoot,
opened the crawl space.
In the darkness, I saw an old lady,
shuffling with the help of a walker.
She was bent over, looking at her big slippers.
She wore a stretched cardigan.
Her gray hair was greasy.
“You can’t be here,” I said.
“It’s too soon.
You have to get out!”

The leaves on the magnolia tree are rusty.
Soon they will fall,
the rain will soak them.
In spring, green knobs
of new growth will appear,
then dazzling pink flowers.

I want to be like the tree.
I want a hundred new haircuts,
a thousand midnights,
a few thousand chicken dinners,
a bonus round,
many more days of love.

IMAGE: Magnolia and Irises, stained glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1908).

Suzanne O’Connell is a poet living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found most recently in Delmarva Review, Brushfire, and Cimarron Review.