He trimmed their hedges
And they watered his curiosity,
With an ear trumpet,
Like an old Victrola needle listening
To a seventy-eight rpm record,
Scratching scratching for a sound.
Blemish on a character,
A sin, an outlandish scrutinizing
Of neighbor’s conversations.
Do not think they don’t notice—
Five o’clock in a morn, or twilight,
And lip reading when a window’s closed,
He beckons words with eyes cocked,
Chip on a shoulder when a shade’s down.
Then he’ll call with a church smile,
Flicking kindness over a bramble—
Just to make sure he’s considered a nice neighbor;
More a hypocrite dodging silence,
Boggling some sort of apology.
The yowl, the maddening,
His arms crossed like a two year old;
A figure spreading himself thin, like butter
Parading itself on moldy bread.
Stone face of a man murmuring utterances
Under his breath, white smoke
Circling over his head;
His wifey trying to cipher his mood
To his unutterable chagrin;
His cold stare freezing her skin, her bone
(Now she’s lost all feeling, how lugubrious).