You wedged a wooden plank between the door knob and the marble step of the vestibule to keep out The Crazy. This was after the police left, before your neighbor knocked and scared us again. I cringed as it was removed, leaning it against the exposed brick wall to let her in, from barricade to innocent board on a wall because maybe The Crazy would come back. We feigned welcome to Tammy with kindness, but our wide eyes were traumatized, talking about what happened—neighbors always have to know.
She was in my face. The door had pounded hard, actually soft and sweet at first but then increasingly louder and I knew it was The Crazy. And then she was in my face. But first you were on top of me, we were upstairs when she knocked because we were having our moment of togetherness like with our tongues and noses touching and legs tangled all wonderful. Then she was in my face. Actually, we came downstairs because you did not think it was The Crazy; you opened the door and she exploded. In your face with a poisonous finger pointed at you and then she was searching for me. The ravenous wolf. I was still numb from your hands on my back and your air in my nose but there she was, she was
in my face, hissing, and dark, and god-awful, and ugly. And you said that her breath smelled and she mocked you and I rolled my eyes because you two are children.
What matters about this: that you covered the window with furry brown blankets, those same blankets that you used to keep you warm all those years you slept on the couch. Blankets to block the light from outside, now just a glow from the lonely street light and shadows from your oak tree out front, but before—the silent lights of police, red and blue spinning orbs inside each drawn window on the block—they had flashed on your face, on The Crazy, off the caps of the officers, but not me because I was hiding in the kitchen. Blankets to separate and to blind the spies on us. Eyes from outside, eyes of The Crazy, eyes of the well-meaning, the nosy, the passersby. No eyes on us anymore. We would retreat
as far into ourselves as possible—for safety—to wait for time to numb what she had said and done.
I stare at the covered windows as we sip sweating bottles of beer; I suggest the plausibility of moving.
--written by Shelley Harp