Bittersweet

Written by: Edmund Siejka

Alone 
I watch
The house across from me
The people who live there
Keep to themselves
A shallow creek 
No wider than a man’s gait
Water no deeper than two feet
Runs as a boundary between us.

The house once had a broken window 
A gaping hole
That gave the house a reckless character
Like the missing front tooth
Of a mischievous young boy
Now it’s been covered by wood
Nearby, inexpensive white plastic chairs
Thin, stained and unused
Line the side of their house
Inviting phantom guests
To sit down.

In the upstairs bedroom
A curtain drawn as blinds hangs
Brightly colored
Defiant in the face of poverty
Inside a girl hides a diary from her parents
And dreams of the day when she is grown up
Young lovers kiss in the darkness
A hungry baby’s whimper is heard in the night
A radio 
Left out on the front stoop
Plays a familiar song 
To an empty street.

The people living next to me
Are proud
Keeping what they have
Admiring their courage
I ask myself
Who am I to complain?