She is a neighbor a building away, we talk weather and potholes, exchange names Mary
same as her daughter or is she Marissa or Maria I was distracted, her nephew was chewing
the leg of his doll and the day was disappearing before seeds of our words could take root
A building a wall a fence a street an ocean a ritual a tradition a history, turnpike exits
mile by milepost zoom past, trails of tears saturate the land, winds repollinate the fields
with bones   The building an ocean away across waves and tides is brick is stucco mud
wood thatch a tent ten inches from my open blinds   In the building an ocean away is a
woman next door, the thunder of blood in her heart deafened by jets circling their targets,
the labor of her lungs muffled by the snapping femurs of olive trees, bulldozers turning
her town and land family and children under   Who can say who is or isn't a neighbor,
who can redline compassion?

Published in Monthly Review
Split this Rock Poem of the Week, May 24, 2013

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