Good fences make good neighbors

Prompt: Consider Robert Frost’s poem about the two neighbors fixing the wall between their properties, where Frost’s sympathies are clearly with the one who doesn’t think they need the wall at all but the other insists “good fences make good neighbors”.


my neighborhood was funky back
when we moved there in ’89
the grass grew tall, the roofs were wood
the houses had a sense of time

it wasn’t perfect, not at all
I once put out a kids’ slide set
and got a note to take it down
a slight I can’t forget

but the woman two doors down would come
and we’d talk and have some tea
boys would run around and play
the trees were fun, the streets were free

and gradually the kids grew up
and went away to live their lives
the neighborhood got quiet then
people got older, people died

prices went up, but no one cared
because no one meant to sell
then my next door neighbor left
which sounded a starting bell

(she didn’t leave, to tell the truth
she fell when she was alone
when she was found, her daughter
had her put into a home)

her house was fixed up and flipped
with vinyl, tile, and white
the garage was automatic
and the lights came on at night

then aliens came, so young and clean
in groups, in little bands
their Lulu yoga pants so tight
their phones attached to hands

they started little park parties
and that was very nice
but as they kept fixing up their homes
and jacking up the price

the pace was changed
and now our homes looked old and out-of-place
what we had loved as funky
they saw as potential space

our fences had meant nothing
been replaced when someone cared
but now they were defences
so that we would be spared

the trees still free, the streets now crammed
with the fruits of financial labor
so much has changed that makes it much
harder to love thy neighbor

4 thoughts to “Good fences make good neighbors”

  1. Comment from J & J: Fantastic – such a great response to the prompt, but surely more than 30 minutes work. The other J says at least a day’s work 🙂

    1. lol I promise and I have five witnesses from the writing group to attest to it! Plus I decided not to cheat by using the web for rhyming words. 😉 Glad you both enjoyed it.

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