Across The Street

an old man walks from his sitting-room to his balcony & begins to cry.

His house faces the western quadrant. We shall never know exactly why.

They keep us this way. Not knowing the contours of our neighbor’s lives.

It’s for the best they tell us & shutter our windows if we inquire too often.

Some say the old man lost his wife last Monday, others, a daughter raped.

Another suggests there was a son – gone bad or maybe lost to war.

The mad woman with one good eye & a crutch tried to trace her lost dog.

On Wednesday she found it hung by its neck from her bronze doorknob.

Nothing is as it seems. Our minister’s not been seen since December.

It’s rumored he left with the laundress who’d run afoul of the general.

If time were right & an offer made, most would find the means to go.

There’ve been those who have / found in the woods eaten by rats.

If it were his wife or daughter or son who will he have left to mourn?

Most have learned to take comfort in the passing of those most dear.

Joaquin’s son Jose was delivered home today in a blue plastic bag.

The VFW plans to reward the grieving family with a traditional fiesta.

To question ‘who holds the reins’ is to ask for confrontation or worse.

Is it best to live quietly in your relegated space & tend your vines?

I’ll never succumb to breast-beating over spilled blood or loss of love.

When my turn comes to walk the ramparts, I’ll do it with eyes wide shut

There’s a time to rage & a time to weep. I’ve lost the will for either.

Bury me soon – before I’m asked to believe again.