Eight souls in this house, five animal and three human,

No end to the noise and the pacing of the Alzheimer’s patient, the music to keep her dying brain occupied, the elderly dog who needs to pee more often than not, the cats who tear through the house after each other.

Today, though, while the sleet came down from gray January skies, they all curled up for naps except me.

Alone on the couch, no sound but the snores from the dog and the whisper of tires on wet roads,

I painted my nails, read for an hour, and sat in the silence that cleansed my brain.