Tuesday Poem

Loving Thy Right-Wing Neighbor

It’s accidental—our tiptoe toward
the political sinkholes
as we yawn at twilight on
your (literally) greener grass.
My quick chicken recipe
reminds you of long work hours
which jabs awake the shot
they want your arm to take.
I step away, remember you
might be even more contagious
than me. Venus is so far
the only wink in the sky.
We swat at our ankles, talk
mosquito spray, the FDA, oops
and my mental crossing guard
emerges yellow-jacketed,
stop sign held straight out.
You were the first to knock
on our door, offer your number.
Next month your church will pitch
foam tombstones for fetuses,
a Halloween trick turned sad.
Mine’s got a sign that says people
who never step foot in yours
matter. I haven’t been this tired
since pregnancy, I say and you
agree. If we talk of summer heat
in fall, we’ll skirt the edges
of the cause. It’s not our fault
our nation’s alleluia
is an ode to what’s left over
after bombs. Here’s something
I might say in tomorrow’s
unseasonable weather:
Did you know a church beside
the towers stayed upright,
unscathed? Not a single broken pane.
The sycamore that blocked it
from the blast is now a stump.
On break from recovering
bodies, the first responders
slept in pews. Their jackets—
the same caution yellow
as my inner crossing guard—
became pillows beneath
their sooty faces. Alarm
had collapsed for once into
what it never gives us: rest.

by Heather Lanier
The Echotheo Review