Mornings, she ate staring out the back window
into the night.
When it was time,
she got into a black pick-up
and drove the alleys,
a slow tunneling between garage
and gate. Here lay

the cast-offs:
sometimes a rusted chaise lounge,
strips of frayed webbing
limp against a concrete drive,
dying potted plants,
old window frames with broken panes.

She learned to be patient
coasting past abused trash cans
and garbage pail lids
propped like lost hubcaps
against garage doors.
She learned the shape of darkness:
what’s valuable;
what’s not.

Beneath clots of mistletoe
high in winter trees,
green-eyed cats waited for her on rocky walls.
She memorised the cough of each barking dog.

Headlights switched off.
Soundless and unseen,
save the suspended heat
of red-eyed brake lights,
she stole through dark alleyways
like a fine run
that slips silently down the back
of the sheerest silk stocking.