Dear John Cheever

How lovely, your rhododendrons
your fence, rounded like toast points
your baby’s knees, so edible!
those beautiful violets, no matter how passe–

My neighbors, we share the same sun,
the same waves of light. We pretend

not to notice each other’s dogs
when they shit near the gift flowers

Oh no, don’t worry, I didn’t hear a thing

nor the piling of take-out
flourishing like jade on the porch.

It is none of my business how you like your eggs
or if you’re getting laid regularly, however

straight as the crow flies, your moans penetrate
my frittata. We wave hours later, on our way

elsewhere. When a brick burst the bubble
of my living room, I scour for similar cannonades,

studying you for your most hateable qualities:
the untidy way you hedge your lawn,
the red dust like blood on your palm.

July Westhale is the award-winning author of Via Negativa, Trailer Trash (selected for the 2016 Kore Press Book Prize), The Cavalcade, and Occasionally Accurate Science. Her most recent poetry can be found in The National Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, CALYX, Rappahannock Review, Tupelo Quarterly, RHINO, Lunch Ticket, and Quarterly West. Her essays have been nominated for Best American Essays and have appeared in McSweeney’sAutostraddle, and The Huffington Post.She is the 2018 University of Arizona Poetry Center Fellow.

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