Front Porch Review
Despite our names on the deed of the house,
it was never quite suburbia.
Yes, we fitted in succinctly
with the neat gardens and white picket fences,
but no one else danced on the roof as we did,
or made a game of laying stone
or shoveled snow like digging for gold
or sang “Do Re Mi” when replacing shingles.
The neighborhood was master of all
but it could never quite bring us to heel.
We loved the work too much.
The sweat, the chill, all came as natural
as sudden breaks for kisses.
The old woman next door had been in her house
since the surrounds were farmland.
The couple out back only ever had
their house painted that one shade of brown.
There was a family on the other side
who never gave us a moment of grief
except, that is, for their strained politeness.
I’m sure they all thought us too bohemian.
Who else would celebrate the pebbles
that decorated our yard after every frost heave?
Or hang a swallow hotel? Or grow wild plum?
Or sip wine on the porch while attending to the sunset?
We knew the rules well enough.
We’d both been raised on them.
But here was our opportunity
to break every married couple suburban commandment
from “Thou Shalt Not Play Led Zeppelin Loudly”
to “Thou Shalt Not Have A Russian Wolfhound For A Pet.”
If the neighbors had only known
how passionate the sex,
how loving the conversation,
how honey locust blossom sweet
the atmosphere from room to room,
they would have got up a petition,
signed by all, and tacked it to our front door –
either asking us to leave
or asking us to show them how it’s done.
John Grey is an Australian-born short story writer, poet, playwright, musician, and Providence RI resident since the late seventies. Has been published in numerous magazines including Weird Tales, Christian Science Monitor, Greensboro Poetry Review, Poem, Agni, Poet Lore and Journal Of The American Medical Association as well as the horror anthology “What Fears Become” and the science fiction anthology “Futuredaze.” Has had plays produced in Los Angeles and off-off Broadway in New York. Winner of Rhysling Award for short genre poetry in 1999.