Rounds

Humid nights, difficult to fall asleep
as tokay geckos began to call and darkness
settled thick, another net pressing

its shapeless shape against the folds
of mosquito netting. And we would hear
his footsteps as he did his nightly

checks around the house: my father
testing each window’s iron hook
and eye in not just one but several

wide circles traced from living
through dining room to kitchen
and back, finally sliding the heavy

security bar in place across
the front door before his footsteps
receded. For there was that night

in November, heavy with rain and thunder,
when we did not hear a back window
jimmied open, the thieves

slitting the covers from sofa cushions
and stuffing them with the boombox
that no longer worked,

the coffeemaker, the portable
typewriter in its robin’s egg
blue case; then stealing into

the children’s room to pilfer
small change from the bureau.
One child awoke but held

as still as death
while watching through
an edge of blanket. They let

themselves back out
into the night as furtively
as they had come. By luck

or grace, we were unscathed.
It’s years from then, and we’re
now in a different clime, another

neighborhood. Even so, we watch—
listening with one ear always pressed
to the flimsy outer door of sleep.

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