I knock for a minute or two, listen, knock again. I think I hear stirring from the second floor, knock some more. Five minutes later a woman appears, red faced from the effort of descending the stairs. She says she just had hip replacement surgery. I wonder how she made it down on her own. She wants the cases stacked in the hallway, leaving only a narrow pathway disappearing into gloom at the back of the house. The ceiling sags from ancient water damage. Two adult sons are upstairs, she says, one autistic, the other afflicted by head injury. I say I’m sorry, shake my head, tell her to have a good day. The woman grips the bannister for support. Stepping back outside, the breeze is soft, blue sky endless. Forsythia erupts yellow and shameless beside the porch.