Neighbors


by Matthew Zingg

Mr. Esposito has no front teeth. I believe
God just forgot to give him any, the way
he speaks, like a wad of clay.
Itís no wonder I canít understand him!
But I try. Iíve given him a name.
And thatís only half the story, which
Iíve been seeing a lot of lately, halves
I mean, walking in and out of my building.
Ms. Brittle says the body is one part
the lesser of our lives, and the other
comes with some reward.
Everyday (am I ready?) every day another
one-armed man walks past my window.
All of them tuck the empty jacket sleeve
in a pocket, so itís hard to tell. But I
can tell. Thatís what bothers me sometimes,
the knowing and not wanting to, the half-
knowing. Itís not Mr. Esposito
or Ms. Brittle. Really itís the person
who lives above me, who
brushes his teeth when I brush my teeth,
who watches the same TV channels
as me. I can hear him up there
walking around, flushing the toiletómaking
love. Iím not sure what it is
he wants.