Won’t you be my neighbor?

by Aleza Freeman

Dedicated to the memory of my favorite childhood television personality, Fred Rogers (1928-2003).

So much for beautiful days
in the neighborhood.
Long gone is the speedy delivery
of good feelings
and friendly neighbor mentality

few and far between is the
neighbor who lends you a cup of sugar
or an extra egg, smiles
and always says “hello”

more common is the one who
avoids all eye contact,
shuts the garage door before
anyone has a chance to even
think about saying “hello”

or the one with the
broom up her ass,
who complains about
trees planted too close to her wall
yet plants cacti on the border
between your homes, so
you end up getting stuck
every time you prune your bushes.

Oh, Mr. Rogers, I so miss
your enchanting
neighborhood of
make believe,
and your closet of
cardigan sweaters.
I miss the simplicity of
the times, when I watched you
change your sneakers,
feed your fish, and I still thought
that neighbors were … well …
neighborly.

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