We know they are coming,
the note slipped under the door
warns us of the time, their desire
not to disturb. The footsteps begin

at eleven, their charted lines
of longitude and latitude leading them
to this pinhole on the map,
their hushed chatter as if
the last thing they want on earth
is to wake us.

By three they are pegging out the land,
small wooden stakes thumping into the ground
around our house. And before dawn
we creep downstairs to slide the bolts,
fasten the shutters, pull the curtains
tight. We even tape up the letterbox.

At first we ignore them –
their laughter, the noisy way they eat,
the singing late into the night,
the occasional call for us
to come out and sit in the sun.
But by the end of the week,

one of us will argue
we were hasty, from the start
there was nothing to be fearful of,
that we misread their intentions.
And one of us will sneak down
in the dark to unbolt the door.
One of us will be laughing
as the key turns in the lock.