Friendly Strangers


His last words to me, God bless you
when I sneezed from the air conditioning
breezing at my back
the night I kept vigil.
With that, my friend left
his sightless eyes, turned to death,
the smell of heaven.
It's strange to watch
the young die as I age, my next door
neighbor's meals put in my mailbox
to deliver when he's too weak to answer his bell.
Midnight calls asking for light,
the upstairs tenant's mind gone before the
wig of his body. Why do I, a woman,
live among these men? Oh, how I wish for
the grass-mowed days when the children
of our neighborhood climbed
the sweet rock of towering hillsides.
Where are their mothers?
What would I do if my son died?
I fold my hands, make temples
to some God, an outsider
who helps but doesn't join.





--Janell Moon (2015)