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.
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.
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.
There, they were all
kinder that I, loved
my hard heart gently,
to new pink.