the deadbolts: where the doorknob
should have been.
Everything was keyed from inside,
including the metal grates
across the basement windows.
They propped up a mannequin
on their vinyl couch
before they left the house –
a dummy in a black wig and kimono,
the National Enquirer folded on its lap.
The neighborhood voyeur
might have been aroused
had he peeked through the glass.
The night burglar might have thought
the occupants were kinky, or just lunatics
with a shotgun’s trigger
wired to spring from a moving hinge.
The German Shepherd growled
from its cage at every least sound.
She could grind bones down with animal ease.
Legs would have been no contest for her,
just pretzel sticks in a salivating vice grip,
had she escaped her paddock.
There was nothing here worth stealing:
the living room sparkled silver and gold
like a 60s’ Slingerland drum set:
a medley of Montgomery Ward’s furnishings –
plastic-covered couch and chairs,
a marble table, hurricane lamps,
and a statue of Moses
with his 10 commandments
were among bric-a-bracs
scattered in strata.
A five-foot garden statue
of Rebecca at the Well
stood at the main entrance.
The door was bolstered by a wooden cane
that buttressed the door handle,
just beneath two deadbolts
and sliding chain lock.
The dining room reflected
flock wall-paper and brown wainscot
from the smoky mirrors.
The house was eclipsed by awnings
an invitation for the random thief
from the street
to test its labyrinth of alarms,
its ambush of latches
constructed from fears
triggered by the Great Depression,
the Great War, and the nightly news –
a million hands warming over garbage cans,
hungry eyes in ski masks.