Side by Side
by Mark DeFoe
In decency and calm our homes repose.
Flowers bless our summer. Each fall we rake.
When the snow comes we heave the snow aside
So mailpersons and walkers can proceed.
We might wish for passion to spill the street,
but our block is discreet, too polite to squirm
with tales of sordid family melodrama.
Our neighbors — dare we say it — we know too well —
One philanderer, one truth twister, one prig,
One no–count, one tightwad, one man magnet.
We live cheek by jowl with shame and shortfall.
But we wave and comment on the weather.
Behind drawn blinds our sorrows dwell. How strange
Yet ordinary, we are. We practice
Gentle irony, study hard at kindness.
It makes no sense to rub each other wrong.