“Dear Neighbor” by Michelle Bonczek Evory

15 November 2013 on Poetry   Tags:

Thank you for the apples you gave us in January,
the ones you brought from the food bank where
you also traded your yellow slip of paper
for pounds and pounds of potatoes
and onions to last the winter.

My husband and I watched the moon bloom twice
while still able to pick apples from the sack in our cellar.

You've shown us pictures from your trip to New York
when you were a child in bellbottoms.
Told how the pirouetting ballerinas you saw
made you feel like you
could do anything with your life.

Last week I took the last apple
and placed it in a fruit bowl to welcome
the spring sun beginning to slip morning
light through our blinds.

The whole house smells like apples.

Once, someone stole through my window at night, hands
lifted my purse and my husband's wallet
from our bedroom while we slept.
Someone stole your car and left nothing
but glass and ash in the driveway.
The same feet that crushed the hooded irises
in front of your window, buried my lilies,
broke the necks of those beautiful flowers.

I'm sorry our bumper stickers criticize
your place of employment and doubt your religion.
What do you tell your son when our headboard smacks
against your den's wall? When our angry voices
sit down beside you and your children at dinner?

You've looked after our cat and plants so many times
while we wandered the state, camped
the Oregon coast, hiked the Trinity-Alps wilderness.
We've flown to and from New York to visit our families
more times than we've invited you over to our house,
this house, the one that smells like apples.

Michelle Bonczek Evory is the author of The Art of the Nipple (Orange Monkey Publishing, 2013) and a founding editor of The Poets Billow (www.thepoetsbillow.org). Her poems have been published in over sixty journals and magazines, including Crazyhorse, cream city review, Green Mountains Review, Margie, and Orion Magazine, and have received numerous awards. She holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University, and a PhD from Western Michigan University, and currently teaches writing in Syracuse, NY.

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