"Dear Neighbor"

This is probably not the poem

you were expecting,

since it’s not about grief

or loss or even love.

It’s not about your children

who have scattered across time zones

you can’t keep track of and so never know

if now is a good time to call.

Likewise, it’s not about fall.

Not about rain or the aches and pains

of aging or god forbid, migrating birds.

This poem doesn't mince words.

It doesn't do Halloween,

doesn't buy cookies from Girl Scouts

or drive at night. This poem

is a burnt-out porchlight, a Lucky Strike

smoked down to nothing

in the darkened yard. This poem

is an upstairs window left open

all night, an ocean of stars

keeping their eye on you.


About the author

Emily Ransdell's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kestrel, Poet Lore, Poetry Northwest, Tar River Poetry and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the Rattle Poetry Prize, the New Letters Prize and the Janet B. McCabe Prize from Ruminate Magazine. Emily divides her time between Camas, Washington and the North Oregon Coast.


Emily Ransdell