Street

Street

I.

The children are scruffy here.

They play out past their bedtimes.

Their parents are working double shifts.

 

Here it is childless high-rises

and low-cost housing. I try to keep the yard up.

I make fun of the trailer park  up the street

when I am broke and the final notice

for the heating bill has come.

I put Post-it notes on the cars

that park in my driveway:

Please inconvenience yourself.

 

II.

My Russian neighbor borrows heavily:

sugar, eggs, flour.

She walks in, uninvited,

when she needs me. Susan!

Come! I give her rides because her teenage son will not,

and roll my eyes to throw her off,

to make her smile.  She brings me Russian wine

and food-bank treats

she will not eat.

 

She lets me pick tomatoes from her garden

even though I cursed the stench

of fertilizer the summer before.

When I am weary of helping her

she gives me a look that cuts me down to size.

 

III.

I silently accuse my Vietnamese neighbor

of pocketing the money

that fell out of a dress, from the dryer we share.

And hated the smells

that drifted into my apartment

from hers, the cacophony of her voice.

But when I asked to borrow the barbecue

that sat unused in her yard

she said yes.

 

IV.

There, they were all

kinder that I, loved

my hard heart gently,

softly, unknowingly

to new pink.

~SR, 2012

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