A short narrative involving two of my favorite neighborhood denizens.

Yesterday on my way home from the officehouse, I was finally able to stop and photograph the dragon, who joined these hydrangeas last week but for whom I could not pause.

While I sprawled on the dragon's lawn, one of the other denizens of his house wandered out to the porch to see what I was up to.

She watched me from the top of the porch for a few seconds before coming down the steps, looking behind the dragon all the while--presumably trying to see whatever it was that I was seeing.

But though she looked, she couldn't figure it out. She mewed a bit, perhaps to distract me from my photography long enough to scratch her head (which I try not to do because of allergies, to my sorrow).

Eventually, she started looking beyond the porch steps.

When the search yielded nothing but more of my camera's clicking and snapping, she moved on to the lawn and I gathered my things and headed home.

In a completely unrelated development, when I walked into the bookstore this afternoon after lunch, a former student--one of last Saturday's intrepid furniture-haulers--walked up to me holding a dried cornstalk. One of his pantlegs was rolled up to the knee. "I have to show this to someone," he said, extending the stalk toward me. "Would you like me to take its picture?" I said. "Yes," he replied. And so I did.

Neither of us knew what it was. I wonder how long he carried it around.

In my dream this morning, in second sleep, I lay down for a nap after a full night's sleep and slept for nine hours. I have gotten so tired in the past week that it's the second time I've dreamt about sleeping, sleeping a second time in my sleep.

Small insects find their ways into the apartment through tiny holes. Fireworks erupt miles away. A lonely dog waits for me in another house, and so I will leave this half-finished home once again and tend to his worry.