Woman Next Door

Photo by Sarah Lim
Photo by Sarah Lim

By Michael Miller

The door yanked open first and left
like an overture that builds to her voice,

she appears with one foot out of the house,
the Fender bass resisting the dig of her fingertips

before she stalks out and heaves it onto the lawn,
turns to flip the bird and storms back in.

In a second, she’s out again—her retreats and exits
as abrupt as a boxer’s steady left, right, left.

Her flight takes her to the street corner lamp,
the crossroads where she pauses, red and pierced,

each direction gleaming with its late-day overture
of turn signals, vacancy signs. From here,

behind the window glass, what can we do?
There has been no crime, no blood, no struggle,

no name or shared history that would beseech us
to tell off the man, clear the guest room for her.

Our hospitality quails at the conditions we’ve set.
All we have left is our own inspection: our eyes

that drift to the living room and mark the corners
without guitars or amps, the books we’ve checked out

for each other, the hour’s small talk priming the air.
Each morning, each morning, we wake unaware

of the things we’ve won without trying.

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