This is a poem for my neighbor, whom I watch walk through his garden every day. He lives alone. He sets up sprinklers. He trims leaves. He sits legs-out, working on something in the grass. He has a cat that sits with him. We never speak. This past summer, we put fireworks on a brick in our front driveway, and we lit them, watching showers of light rain down like meteors. For a second, we could see the sparks reflected in his windows, so we had two fireworks shows: the one we made in our own driveway, also his, in his dark house. The fireworks ended, getting fogged like those old flashbulbs on my father’s camera. You had four pictures that had light, if you were lucky. We went in, and he still sat (I typed in sad, by accident) on his grass mound, not looking over.
Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco: “I have been an instruction and research librarian at UC Merced for about nine years now, though my poetry only occasionally gets the chance to interact directly with my work. One of the things I love about being a librarian is how it gives me the opportunity to see how other people think things through. I feel like writing is such a particularly solitary thing (for me at least), whereas when I’m working with students and faculty I can listen to their ideas and talk with them about what they’re looking for. I also like that my job takes me out of my own head. I feel like that’s a place that needs exploring.”