A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

By: Julia Corin

Your tea is cold and
you’ve hardly eaten the green beans I set
out in the microwave under a paper towel
to keep the flies off.
Mrs. Shirley across the yard in the pink
nighty always jabbering about the lawn
boys not putting the proper time in to our
bushes, talks to me often about the paper
mill.
That’s the odor that swings from the
Branches.
And you asked me what on earth that
smell was when we first unpacked our
things and I didn’t know then
but I know now, Mrs. Shirley told me so
the other day,
it’s the paper mill.
The river has a way of stretching it like
rolling out the dough we buy fresh from
the deli. 

I wish I knew what she does at night
and all of the people that live on this street
coming and going and leaving meals
forgotten in a microwave somewhere

But some things are for certain:
The frogs are still out singing their
death march in
those no good chunks of weeds the
lawn boys call a bush—
And that smell,
of the paper mill
still walks around our home
hooded, like the reaper. 

and you and I still wait under the glow
of this lamp for
something
to ease
this.