Tuesday, October 26, 2010

From Across the Street

I watch as the children gather
near to each other in the front yard
wrapping arms around necks
in efforts to offer comfort;
this public display of sorrow
is so unusual for the deeply
private family and I watch
and my heart breaks, too
from across the street

feeling much discomfort
wanting to offer solace as well
but knowing it is not my place,
not yet anyway,
I silently pray for her soul
from across the street

neighbors who are really strangers
to one another
watching from across the street
that might as well have been
an ocean divide;
their blinds closed tight,
keeping out the neighbors,
holding others at a distance
and soon, we forget to care
forget that they are even there

a few friendly waves now and then
maybe we scowl at the loose dog
that got in our yard
or they chastise our children
for tossing the ball
towards their newly purchased car;
years pass and we never cross over
into true friendship
but remain content
to watch each others lives
from across the street

but in the end
what does it matter?
a life is over too soon,
only fifty-four the papers say
and the family grieves
while the wind and rain
blow the memories of her spirit
around our hearts;
and the arms of loved ones
that comfort the family in their loss
represent those of the angels
that are now comforting
a woman after her years
of cancerous pain

and the widower returns
to his garage every morning
where he and his dog
listen to the radio
while the fire burns in the stove
and now his heart breaks in silence
and our prayers rise to heaven
as we consider sending a card
and a casserole
yet it seems too little, too late
and we continue to fear
reaching out
from across the street

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. For my neighbor, Becky, and my sister's mother-in-law, Dolores, may their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.


  1. This was a very good poem, Anne. People are kind of set apart from each other these days, aren't they? Friendly waves, quick hellos...I can well relate though I wish it wasn't like this. I am sorry to hear about your neighbor and sister's MIL. I will pray for the repose of their souls. I'd have a headache too with all that's been going on around there (I read your post yesterday). I hope you're feeling better!
    I've been doing a novena for you. I know that you've been under a lot of stress lately.
    May God bless you all as your household is consecrated to the Sacred Heart tomorrow :)

  2. Awesome reflection, Anne. I know what you mean but having had a tragic loss myself, the best philosophy is to do. Don't hesitate, just do. It's never too late. Follow your heart and that lovely idea you had! Christ's comfort and peace to you!

  3. All I can say is, I know the feeling... "you don't know what you've got till it's gone"... and then sometimes you can never find out.

  4. A sad but beautiful poem. 'wind and rain blow the memories of her spirit around our hearts...' Nice. And I can easily see him in his garage, sitting on a stool, staring straight ahead, or down at his shoes.. Thanks for an all too true poem. k

  5. How did we get this way? My neighbor across the street is slowly dying; I hire her son for some part-time work, and give her produce from the garden, but I really don't know her. I invite her to church with me, but she awkwardly declines. I wish she didn't, but we're not close despite all the years we waved back and forth.

    Living across the street for 30 years; I remember people from across the street as I grew up, and their children, and their dogs.

    How did we get this way.