A Year of Poems – Day 75

The world is smaller than we’d like
free trade, open borders, globalization
they’re words of infinite possibility
until we look next door
the fence is never tall enough
to block out the neighbor’s hydrangea bushes
which lean with plump arms shedding their
clothes into our lives with depressing regularity.
So we clip their overhanging branches,
we rake our yard with diligence,
we consider a higher fence because after all
“good fences make good neighbors.”

The problem with neighbors is the bleed over
We should all live in apartments
where the lines are clear drawn,
each one an inviolable sovereign state
whose borders no one would dare
invade without careful negotiation.
Even then the sound bleeds through –
the arguments, the laughter, the joy,
the ragged sounds of weeping
that tears at the corners of our sleep.
The problem with neighbors is they bleed over
into our life, into our problems,
and we don’t even know who they are.

The world is smaller than I’d like.
I know too well the types of people
who live in a world such as ours.
I read of schools shot up
and no imagery is sufficient
to express the pain and destruction
caused to our neighbors by their neighbors.
So I lock my doors at night,
when branches encroach I prune
them into straight apartment lines.
Sometimes though, after pruning back
their hydrangeas and raking up the debris,
I look up at the straight lined bush
chopped into a flowery condominium
and I can’t help but think, this wasn’t meant to be.

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