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a poem by Kevin Ridgeway

My Neighbor's Back Yard

he pulls a cart along the busy boulevard
full of bottles and cans collected
from dumpsters and private garbage
I hear the clash of broken glass and
dented aluminum in his backyard
next door; I peek over the fence
and a waft of methamphetamine
smoke hits me in the face while
he continues to puff on a glass
pipe. He offers me some and I
decline, watching the eyes in his
head swim his pupils trying to
break free and dry off on the
hairy beach of his salt-and-pepper
eyebrows. He offers me the
last dregs of a forty ounce
King Cobra, a cigarette butt
dancing at the bottom.
I just stare at him for a moment,
standing beneath an unruly
tree of uneaten lemons
surrounded by rotting fruit
and flies. I thank my lucky
stars for my own filth, which
I move back to clean vigorously,
suds against the sins, please
wash away.

© by Kevin Ridgeway
Gutter Eloquence Magazine ~ Issue #30 ~ April 2014