June 26, 2024

Photo credit: Miriam Gordis
My NeighborA Poem by Fran Matos
It’s just me
and my thoughts
and the woman downstairs
whose voice echoes
through the hallway
like a barking dog.

It startles my very real dog
who is also afraid of the wind.

Outside, it pours—
rain’s out, snail’s out.

I don’t know.

What is the greatest scene
of someone walking
and why is it this one kid I saw
roaming with a red sun hat over his eyes
saying, I’m from the paaast?

What if that’s all it is—
a hat that we may remove
when we’re alone.

I mean it’s fine,
the past, my neighbor, my fortune
delivered to me on a receipt
through the Mouth of Truth
at the winter fair.

“You must work very hard” it warned me,
and I agreed.

But it also said “you don’t have much faith in human nature”
which I thought, whispered even, impossible
then crumpled my fortune in my pocket.

Walking home, I thought of my small faith
and the work I was going to have to do.

I did this until I found, you guessed it, my neighbor
standing by her window like always.

I waved before stepping inside
to show her where I was coming from.

Fran is originally from Lisbon, Portugal. Her work has recently appeared in Columbia Journal.