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Sunday, February 28, 2010

HOW TO WAVE


I wave to my neighbor across the street ,
he’s been there for six or seven years,
but I don’t know his name, his story.
We smile, make small talk about weather
as we shovel out the cars in our driveways
from the latest snowstorm, that’s it though.

I remember back when, everyone made
an effort to know the neighbors, I could drive
down the block today and point at the houses
and tell you the family names that are gone now
from the neighborhood where I come from.

There’s a white stucco half a double, just around
the corner, not far from my grandparent’s house.
People took a liking to the lady who lived there,
looked out for her, made her one of the family.

A widow, no kids, no relation to anyone, but when
mothers walked babies in strollers and carriages
Mrs. Wallace made conversation, admired babies,
spoke about living each day, enjoying the little ones.

Don’t remember who started it, we all called her
Aunt Helen, the lady who taught us how to say hi,
and how to wave. As we grew older she invited us
in to her home with candy dishes on every table.
We’d lift the noisy lids,find York Peppermint Patties,
Canada Mints, jelly fruit slices, Reesey cups, Wilbur Buds.

On a hot day, she poured ice water from old orange juice
bottles, tall, thick with an icy texture and an indented side.
We’d step on the pedal of a shiny chrome trash to open
the lid and throw out our little pastel colored Dixie cups.

On the screen porch, in back, clay pots all shapes and sizes
lined the edges of the room soaking in sunshine. In the
backyard was a closed down pool, with massive cracked
a concrete wall, piles of dirt, leaves floating in a foot of water.
We’d ask now and then, why doesn’t anyone use that pool?

When she passed, they explained to all of us kids,
who ranged from four to twelve, she went to Heaven
back then they simply told kids, “She died of old age”.
At the funeral, our first funeral, we all walked up
for the final viewing of the woman who had taught
us all how to wave hello and how to say good bye.

3 comments:

WELCOME TO MY WORLD OF POETRY: said...

The neighbourhood has certainly changed over the years I agree,
It's a pity as there are many lonely people around......even a smile could make their day.
People today are either cautious or busy in their lives to bother.

Loved the post it's lovely to see so much of your work over ther past few days.

Yvonne:

Kay said...

wooooowwwwweeeeee.....way to tug on the heart strings, bringing back both memories of my own childhood neighbor and importance of leaving a good, inviting and caring impression. in the end, you bring much reflection in this write.

WR said...

Wonder why we hold back, choosing not ask about the details of another's life? Human connection is a fragile, beautiful thing, isn't it...