Dark purple silk palms
spread profusely from twig wrists,
trail delicately over the tall woodslat fence
that separates our yards.

Tiny fragile white startles
of petals cluster together
on the tips of lean, limber vines,
shimmy softly in the uneven breeze.
The jungle next door tantalizes.

On the opposite side, my other neighbors
plant a waist-high picket fence
between our yards,
whirling windtoys
and tidy raised wood boxes
of dark soil,
beds for vegetables and flowers.

Rakes, shovels, a worn pitchfork
lean against the wall of their  home.
Adolescent fruit trees
elbow awkwardly
from corners.

The old two-story oak
with recently shortened limbs
waiting to grow soft,
supple again.

My yard,
a bare block of crewcut grass
and clover, a thick short hedge or two.
A chest-high rubbery roundness
hunkers down in one corner,
a succulent cabbage-like hulk.

Spindly impatiens scrabble
across from the bedraggled fern.
The fading wood lattice
slants sideways, empty.

Calla lilies weed up
by the back door,
forest green
plastic Adirondack yardchairs
arm by arm
on the rectangle of concrete.

The gray cat prowls the bare patches
of survivor growth,
peers through the weathered picket fence.
I imagine she wants to lie
in the tender charmyard
of cherry tomatoes and bachelor buttons,
to paw at spinning yellow windmills
and tiny wood stickbirds.

I sit
taking in the neighboring passions,
stumped, overwhelmed, unable
to turn over this soil,
wishing for green delicate grace
to materialize
in this small naked square.

Despair puckers its split lips
and mutters its busy rote
while my fingers
pluck at the
plastic chair arms.


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