Neighbors

For Anne, Horst and Rue;l>

On the counter the remnants

The last quarter of wine 

Crusts of bread

A few onions and the tomato 

you never got around to eating

All that is left of the summer

As the housemates headed west this morning 

And tonight a last supper with the neighbors who remain.

The summer residents I never expected to see last year

Who appeared in spring in the shuttered houses 

That I skied around on moonlit nights in winter wondering 

The neighbors with exuberant waves

Who appeared in spring at your door looking for sugar or an egg

Who entice you to go swimming 

The one time you did, even though you didn’t want to

These neighbors of yours with whom you sit on the porch

To talk about wolves

Who water your garden because you never do

These neighbors who were around in a summer of COVID 

When no one else was 

The usual family and visitors not coming this way

Who are sitting down to dinner in 15 minutes 

Wondering if you are free 

For fish chowder and salad

A glass of wine and conversation

“Nothing special”

When everything about it is 

Afternoon conversations over philosophy and beer 

That is so delicious you cannot wait until next summer 

For it to continue and so you don’t

Neighbors who go to bed as early as you

Who you watch to see their house grow dark, 

Just after sunset

The glow of their bedroom light

The comfort of knowing we are all safely in bed

Neighbors for whom you check in on the house while they are away 

And report that no tree has yet fallen through the roof

Are those for whom you cut up the tree that fell in the yard

Stacking it with care

Anticipating their return

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