POETRY

The Tone of the Neighborhood

By

Last summer the lawns were patched with tan
and war raged on in Afghanistan.

I watched a family walk away
from their home, at noon on a blistering day.

I knew by their shoulders' slump and faces,
this wasn't a trip to exotic places.

The boy emerged, carrying a pillow
still in its case, a mustard yellow.

The girl clutched a Barbie by the throat;
Dad held a microwave; Mom, a coat.

Trash piled curbside, high as a shed.
The woman paused—perhaps she said

a small farewell?—got in the car.
They left. At once the house was a jar

emptied of purpose, ready to rinse
and put in recycling. Behind the fence

no cooking aromas rose from the grill
and the weeds grew tall as the windowsill.

The shutters were tearing away from the stone.
Don't ring the doorbell. Nobody's home.

Anna M. Evans’ poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, Atlanta Review, Rattle, American Arts Quarterly, and 32 Poems. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and is the Editor of the Raintown Review. Recipient of a 2011 Fellowship from the MacDowell Artists' Colony, she currently teaches at West Windsor Art Center and Richard Stockton College of NJ. Her chapbooks Swimming and Selected Sonnets are available from Maverick Duck Press. Her poem, Straight Talk," appearing in Kin is from a chapbook, Saint-Pol-Roux & Other Poems from the French.

Last summer the lawns were patched with tan
and war raged on in Afghanistan.

I watched a family walk away
from their home, at noon on a blistering day.