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July 2018, vol 14 no 2

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Jonathan McKeown

Neighbourhood

… no one is present there, and everything is sheer persuasion.
                                                      ~ Kierkegaard

Some nights when the house is all asleep he comes and sits out here on the steps with us and smokes and sips from a mug of tea. Here he can be and think as if he were alone – in one respect he is. A little breeze comes and goes, its passage traced in the rustle of our leaves. He thinks: – Sometimes trees are the best company. One can be at ease. With them there is no comparison. And for a moment considers: (us here) – how (seemingly forgotten and neglected) we grow; unobtrusive, constantly, abiding all extremes and variations, unsheltered, enduring, naked witnesses of every season, hidden for the most part in plain sight. – How close and modest and reassuring they always are, especially when considered. He takes a thoughtful toke and looks up – exhales, through our latticework of leaves – to the silent stars, and wonders … (Perhaps it is the smoke that disturbs one of our little sleeping birds who mutters something close, absurd, and settles again.) His ear – falling now to the hush of a lone car threading its way through the surrounding labyrinth – follows its fading sound.... He drinks the last sweet dregs of tea....

between soft thuds
of palm drupe, night’s lull-a-bye
of crickets


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