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111th Weekly Poetry Contest honorable mention: The Way We Are Now

by stevieslaw

The Way We Are Now

My neighbor, Mike,
will build a fence this spring.
I watch as landscapers
pace the boundary
between our quarter acres,
penciling distances
and slopes, in hope
of a winning bid.

Frost wrote, “Good fences
make good neighbours,”
but neither Mike nor I
keep cows–
and I am pleased
when his old dog Mutt
comes to call,
expecting as his due
a belly rub and bacon.

Mike and I
have shared this line
for more than thirty years.
With our children—
close as cousins,
grown and gone,
he has taken to the iris
as I have taken to the rose.
By mid-spring the view
across our yards
“could make the centerfold
of Gardening News,”
he’d say with a chuckle,
when we two still spoke.

The fence will cost us hours of light
and with our curse of clay and climate,
we may well lose the iris and the rose.
I fear next spring I’ll mourn along the fence line,
and wonder how we came to be,
two gardeners who cannot even talk about the weather.

111th Weekly Poetry Contest