“My Neighbor (the recluse)” by John Harn

My neighbor (the recluse)

and I bump into each other
at midnight in the alley
on our way to the dumpster
carrying bags of trash.

Nice night, I say.
Yeah, he says, trailing off looking up
at a sky full of stars. He sighs.
It’s everywhere, man he says.
You know what I’m talkin’ about.
Guys like us. Old fucks. It’s on us now.
Haul it up like a whale.
Drag it around like a fuckin’ anchor.
Shit. You know what I’m talkin’ about.
I see you walkin’ around.
Guys like us we look up
and we stay there, man
he says
pointing straight up
looking straight at me
the words in his mouth like iron flowers.

I let the dumpster lid slam
too hard and look him in the eye
trying to remember his name.
He sees me searching for words
smiles and falls quiet.

In moonlight, in pajama bottoms, by the dumpster
my neighbor the recluse
wants me to say we are gods.



John Harn’s poems have appeared in Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Carolina Quarterly, Hotel Amerika, South Carolina Review, Chicago Quarterly, Spillway, Post Road, Poetry East and others. His full-length collection, Physics for Beginners, won the Blue Light Book Award and was published by Blue Light Press last September.
He worked with international students for over twenty years, mostly in Oregon, and currently live in Galveston, Texas where he is working on a new manuscript.

Featured Image by Stéphan Valentin

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