Know Your Neighbors

Ashley Sapp

Sorrow is a neighborhood, houses

lining the streets: an ellipsis of grief.

Abandonment fills each mailbox as they sit empty,

but also, relief is found on the lawn as

a child plays make-believe despite

what goes on inside their house,

mixing and mixing and mixing,

hands and faces dirty but content.

Discovered beyond is the kind of anger

that drips off the clogged gutters as does rainwater,

minimal at first, but then the downpour.

My neighbors call out when I walk by, and

I realize I know many of them more

by their hands waving in the air than

their actual names, synonymous

with how you know the look of your fingers better

than the names of each bone, a reckoning of feeling,

this giveaway of sentiment. Sorrow begins there.

Everything starts at the zenith of encounter,

both the shattering and the mending,

a tired conclusion forming in the cul-de-sac

of neglect. My neighbors look on as I wander,

faces blurred from the shake of their heads,

and I am witness to the finality of closed doors.

I return the wave, too late, with regret

clipping my heels, a reminder

that I am never quite as alone as I feel

in this neighborhood built by strangers.

ASHLEY SAPP (she/her) resides in Columbia, South Carolina, with her dog, Barkley. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of South Carolina in 2010, and her work has previously appeared in Indie Chick, Variant Lit, Emerge Literary Journal, Common Ground Review, and elsewhere. Ashley has written two poetry collections: Wild Becomes You and Silence Is A Ballad. She can be found on Twitter @ashthesapp and Instagram @ashsappley.