I’d no desire to meet the man next door
who never had learned what a shovel was for
mailbox overflowed with bills, Forbes and Time
so I stayed on Joe’s side of the property line.
Summer showed up in May and I put on my skirts
watching Joe turning his grass into dirt
sometimes ketchup smeared, sometimes the beer spilled
food tasted of charcoal but the air smelled of grills
the sun got hotter so we moved slower
the grass next door never met with a lawnmower.
The neighbor, Joe said, was rude and liked booze
and later that June we finally got news
Joe’s roommate awaked to the gagging sound
of an officer sickened by what she had found.
She’d been sent over to investigate
but she had arrived about four months too late
Last winter, it seemed, had lasted forever
the man next door gave in and finally surrendered.
Either he was determined or considerate
for he chose the garage and he sealed his fate
Through all his drunk driving he’d managed survival
and now he decided to end it in idle
wrapping the windows in smell-proof tape
finalizing his need to never escape
That car kept on running while he was forgotten
slumped over the steering wheel, smushy and rotten
All these months I’ve been laughing, relaxing outside
never questioning if neighbors were dead or alive
And the thoughts of his actions now clutter my head
I think of his despair while I’m in Joe’s bed.
Joe’s breathing turns sleepy, but I stay awake
an etch a sketch horror I can’t seem to shake.
(written in 2008)