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Neighborly Distances

From a neighborly distance, the drama of a life's finality unfolded
A man named Mient. Once a well-known construction-scientist
When we became neighbors at Christmas he was a double amputee
Both legs taken by diabetes, then a man of his own ethnicity
Challenged him to a fight (Take it outside this diningroom," the chef said)
Both men were aging, wise in the prime, but wisdom had left already:
Venter wanted a piece of Mient, too. Though wheelchair - bound
Mient did his last manly act of courage, with powerful arms, he won
He had the manliness to beat the bully from a wheelchair
But Venter - a retired policeman - ran to the Station, to lay a charge ...
Amused yet grieving for these men, as the bully claimed favor of God
Blind to the recent mismatch (as during his career?) of bullying a dying man
Last week, in this new year, love-month of February, Mient lost a final fight

II
Phone calls were made by mom around the world to "the kids,"
Jeanetta, not young or healthy herself, began the final arrangements
The rituals of funerals come home as the deceased one's children will
Briefly for a goodbye, to a father who provided well, & education,
O how politics and economics, the Beast and the anti-Christ, conspire ...
To make exiles and beggars of once proud patriots
"Home" for funerals only, then back to jobs & careers, big companies
Need their expertise, a global economy they call it. Many skills, gadgets ...
And ultimately, we lost the art of being neighbors, or family
The fences of old have become walls, some with barbed fencing atop
Once closer than family, now neighbor competes against neighbor
From my neighborly distance, Jeanetta says, "Mient is gone. Come home."

Copyright © Anil Deo

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