He Sleeps Next Door

Diane Webster

Monochromatic photo of a metal folding chair with five wood slats for the seat and three wood slats for the backrest. The chair is in the foreground next to a shingled wall. Two windows with closed horizontal blinds inside are to the top left. All of the color in the photo is muted with the exception of an empty large green plant pot under one window. Dappled sunlight falls from the left and the shadow of a chain link fence can be seen on the concrete ground.

Photo Credit: K Hardy/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

He sleeps 30 feet away
in the house next door,
but he sits on a folding chair
outside his room watching
TV in the living room
through propped open door
of his parents’ house.

He smokes cigarettes,
listens to running water
of koi pond crowded
into his area like a hot tub
for people with limited space.

I hear his one-sided cell phone
conversations with friends
at 2:00 a.m. after the bars close;
I hear him cough when he can’t sleep
and cigarette smoke invades his lungs;
I hear him slam the wooden gate
to his graveled domain when darkness
explodes within him as much
as it descends through night.

I want to whisper through my wall,
“It’s all right.  Morning’s coming.”
I wonder if he hears.


Diane Webster’s goal is to remain open to poetry ideas in everyday life, nature or an overheard phrase and to write. Diane enjoys the challenge of transforming images into words to fit her poems. Her work has appeared in El Portal, North Dakota Quarterly, Eunoia Review and other literary magazines. Email: diaweb[at]hotmail.com

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