“Our Neighbor, A Little Boy”

Our neighbor, a little boy,
before he lost his innocence,
used to stand inside the gate
of his grandfather’s house
to gaze at us. With hands
on his hips and mouth slightly
open, he would stare at us
to look at whatever we were doing —
us coming home and opening
the gate, us carrying our babies
to and fro between our house
and the garden, us talking and
laughing and singing, us carrying
books and toys and clothes and food —
nothing escapes his eye, everything is
of interest, everything a source of
wonder. Occasionally, we would hear
screaming and sobbing behind him,
but he wouldn’t budge, he wouldn’t
blink, he wouldn’t stir. Now, we have
vanished from his line of sight. Our
houses are a mere stone’s throw away,
but he lives as if unaware of our existence.

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