The best intentions anticipate warm customs
& lasting privacies. The forced community

you left behind at the condo knows
you’re just two telling digits apart.

Your bebop solos flip out their angelfish,
their rinse cycle barbells your soufflés.

The heating bill reflects as much on naked studs
as phantom property lines. Last night’s thuds

refuse to affect those cheerful ear-muffed faces
street-parking out front on alternate months.

With no lost relatives living over there,
who can you ever get to meet halfway?

Garbage, sewage, daycare, schools;
junk mail, lawn signs, offhand tools.

When their stove finally gives up its ghosts,
the least you can do is offer the firemen coffee.

Bill Howell has five poetry collections, including Porcupine Archery (Insomniac Press). Bill also has recent & upcoming work in Antigonish Review, ARC, Canadian Literature, Dalhousie Review, Descant, Grain, Prairie Fire, Vallum, and MESS: The Hospital Anthology (Tightrope Books). Originally from Halifax, Bill was a network CBC Radio Drama producer-director for three decades. Lately, he says, he's writing "Aural Treats for the Dyspepsia Generation."