John Hyland: “Next Door”


Lately I lean against the porch post at night
in the hum and glare of streetlights,

and given the season, some nights I listen
to the tinny arrival of sleet on dormant cars,

while the neighbor next door—a military vet,
the bartender at the corner tells me—

curses the walls. The harsh electric light
splatters through chain-link, across yards,

and my house’s corner cuts it, leaving
its trace in shadow. So many nights

the man’s screams assail me. Why do we do
what we must know should never be done?

John Hyland’s recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Borderlands, Harvard Review, Laurel Review, and descant.

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