The Neighborhood

by Deborah Diemont

Mitch brought over a Ziplock of his wife Joanne’s homemade lemon bars to say thanks for the jar of pesto I’d left on their doorstep to say thanks for when Mitch mowed our lawn when my husband Raúl’s back went out. 

Raúl set an aloe vera plant on Mitch and Joanne’s front porch to say thanks for the treats. 

Winston left a bottle of pinot noir outside my door to say thanks for the tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden. I took him some zucchini and a pumpkin to say thanks for the wine. Winston left an unused gift card he got for Christmas in my mailbox. 

Margot sent me one of her hand-painted cards to say thanks for the soup I brought her mother when she was sick. Her mom’s in remission now. I got my brother Robert to send them some daffodils from his flower shop. 

Carrie left me an old-fashioned, “Rosebud”-type sled she found at Goodwill because it made her think of me. I took over a bag of my younger daughter Tori’s gently used jeans and T-shirts for Carrie’s youngest, Beth. Carrie brought three bags of her older daughter Shiloh’s gently used jeans, T-shirts, pajamas and dresses for Tori. I hauled the clothes to the attic, knowing that if I took them to Goodwill, Carrie would see them there. 

Winston brought me a sky-blue sunhat and some crystal earrings that dangle, emitting rainbows. He saw them at a craft show and said they made him think of me. 

Sometimes Winston leaves me cigarettes, which I smoke while the kids are at school.

To say thanks for the sunhat, the earrings and the gift card, I made Winston chocolate-chip brownies. I consumed the whole batch with his wine. 

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Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Deborah Diemont grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and Fort Worth, Texas. She has three books of poetry with Dos Madres Press: Wanderer (2009), Diverting Angels (2012) and The Charmed House (2020). Her poetry, flash and translations have appeared in a variety of journals including CAIRN, Literary Bohemian, Nimrod International Journal, Oleander Review and Like Water Burning. She lives in Syracuse, New York.

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