A city, not my own
by Ann Howells

It’s almost evening once again,
and I haven’t checked schedules, prices,
haven’t made a reservation. Small
flowered hedges go blurry lavender,
and across the street a neighbor’s daughter
sits in her yard: one shoe discarded,
white socks and hair bow askew, looking
like a painting by Renoir. Thelonious Monk
drifts from the apartment above. Home fades,
detail lost; brothers and sisters have children
I’ve never seen. My lease has expired;
each month I think I’ll put in notice,
but don’t. I asked the landlord if I could
build shelves in the alcove; Sure, he said.
Sure. Now every shelf is filled. He’ll likely
jack the rent for his next tenant, point out
built-in shelves, hand-waxed, hand-rubbed.
I should send a letter home, a photograph
or two. Maybe with Adrienne on the bridge
that reminds us of Giverny, Monet’s swirling
blues and greens. But, this neighborhood
has begun to feel like family. Later,
I’ll meet Brick, stroll the district, something
going on at every corner: music, mimes,
poetry. Look! Tiny petals fill the wind
like snowflakes. The neighbor’s child
picks up her ball, goes indoors.

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