He trimmed their hedges

And they watered his curiosity,

Nosy neighbor

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).


Copyright © 06/30/18 lance sheridan®

11 comments on “Eavesdropping

  1. kaddietucker says:

    Your words brought to mind some of my nosy ex-inlaws, who enjoyed nothing better that to sow disorder. Great poem, Lance.

  2. Using words w/ the precision of a surgeon, you manage to capture this man’s character. I especially like the line: “A figure spreading himself thin, like butter parading itself on moldy bread.”

  3. Love this one! …and what a great line/image
    “A figure spreading himself thin, like butter
    Parading itself on moldy bread.”

  4. Reblogged this on Words Words Words and commented:
    very nice, concrete poem. There seems to be a light sense of comedy in poem, but I had a hard time with the tag “Wifey”; it kind of jolted me out of the poem so I thought it broke the slight undertone of irony, comedy of the rest of the poem and made it more obvious, which may lessen the drama of the poem instilled in other verses. Of course then using the cliche term “wife” would be worse, so…I don’t know. Great poem though.

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