Ella’s hands know she’s alive today.
Her piano is drenched in sunlight,
and she spends the morning coaxing hums
from its belly. She has made a pet of the wind,
and she lets it in through the screen door, feeds it
dried blooms from a rhododendron.
She thinks about all the mirrors in the houses
on her block. Then she crosses the street
to her neighbor’s yellow door, peers
through the mail slot. It’s dark in there,
and all she sees is a stack
of blue plates on a table. Where
are the secret drawers filled with cigarettes
and diaries? Where are the boxes of pliers
and hammers, the screws flexing
their tiny shoulders? The needles and gum?
When a spider drifts up toward the ceiling,
the afternoon stops moving. Ella stares
for a long time. Then she blinks,
and the leaves go back to sizzling.