Today's poem is by April Lindner

The Neighbors

Our houses stand like lovers, hip to hip.
The only thing between a grassy strip,

the fence an empty gesture, but we know
them only well enough to say hello.

Their pear tree dumps its produce in our yard,
mealy and bewormed, or green and hard.

Our dogs annoy them, barking to get in,
sniffing between pickets, and the din

when the teenage girl rehearses with her band
reminds me just how middle-aged I am.

The wife drags out the trash and mows the lawn
in her sweatpants, looking put upon.

I've watched the undershirted husband preen
then glance my way, expecting to be seen.

Etiquette demands we all pretend
I'm looking at their lawn gnomes, not at them.

Why do I dislike them? It's complex.
We hear them break their dishes and have sex

and bite back our own cries of rage and love
out of concern for what they think of us.

Copyright © 2004 April Lindner All rights reserved
from The Formalist
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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