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  You could have a big dipper   

Welcome to the Neighborhood by Penny Sarmada

We think the house at the end of the street is best for you. Ranch style / pool size lot. They’re called muffins / no actually we didn’t bake them ourselves. You’re most welcome / welcome to the neighborhood. Make it your home / perfect place to raise kids / pursue happiness / it’s a free country / not some shithole country / no offense. Driveway’s big enough for a boat. Plant petunias 8 inches apart / 8 inches apart / 8 inches apart. That’s how it’s done. What / no dog? Here’s a number to call. Invite us for a backyard barbecue / how delightful / civilized. Heinz ketchup / Heinz relish. Look at you fitting right in / you go girl. Lordy the mosquitoes this time of year. How do you get your grass so green / weed free? Your husband built this deck himself? He looks strong / handsome in a certain way. Let us take a closer look. Goodness yes. Our husbands disappear golfing / we smoke Newports & pot / swallow mandies & gin for sweet relief that lasts all day. It’s a regular Valley of the Dolls around here on Saturdays / ha ha / not just Saturdays. That’s a book / movie / oh never mind. Honey you best stay home / stay out of trouble / good girl like you. Stay home / pray to your silly god. Stay home / cook your smelly slop. Stay home / make that handsome hubby happy. He shovels our walk early on snowy mornings / before our husbands crack their first fart of the day. We ask him in for coffee / no thank you is what he says. Okay play it like that cowboy / coy boy / we give him a wink. We wait until you drive off to the oncologist in your Cherokee / we visit your handsome husband on top of your freshly ironed bamboo bedsheets / under the rosewater mist. We see you in the evening walking your cute little Labradoodle / Macaroni is her name. Howdy neighbor you say / well howdy yourself we wave back from the porch. Your accent is hilarious. We smile / sorry but our Pilates class is full / have you tried downtown? We shrug / book club is full too / anyway the words are all in English. Is that a traditional / tribal costume? So colorful / fascinating / different. Who does your hair / nails? Here’s our cell / call us if you need anything / anything at all.


Penny Sarmada is a writer from Ontario who is starting to send poetry and other writing into the world. A recent piece appears in Versification. Twitter @PennySarmada

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