Love Thy Neighbor

Home Depot: Aisle Four: Shelves & Brackets.

Screws should be in the toolbox at home.
Toolbox…yes, in the garage, next to the miter saw, and
my old skates, the four-wheeled skates, not the inline,
never in line because of a rebellious nature.
A leather jacket kind of resistance.
A motorbike brilliance.
Now riding lawnmower equipment.
Dad’s don’t walk, we’re brazen.

The ancient toolbox next to
an ancient cardboard box.
Scribbled on the front, the marking of youth,
my name, my print. Such ugly handwriting.
For God’s sake.

But as for keepsakes:
The only objects that hold more merit
have more and most accumulative dust.
Yearbooks, pictured peers, so many memories
and faces. So many faces in this book.

The trophies. Number three. MVP.
A wipe of the thumb revealed the number.
And the rhyme is new.
Wit came with later age, I suppose.

Sports in adolescence, the physicality, the egotism,
it clouds critical thinking, or maybe wry remarks, too.
“Gay” and “Asshole” become some of the favorites.
And now this leads to an obligatory pun.
Grass stained knees. Sacking. The loser is gay.

How paradoxical!

Other contents of the box are various marks.
Grades; graduations; girls.
Three G’s that I’ve
always evaded because of laziness.
Because fuck dignity, right?
At least at that age integrity is as foreign
as the idea of it even being instilled.

How can you know if you’re being raised
in the wrong?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m sure two examples is sufficient.

It’s usually the acquaintance my son
brings home that opens my refrigerator door
before saying hello.

Or sometimes it’s his friend,
our neighbor’s youngest son, who boasts about his parent’s
material possessions, while his parents ask
my wife and I if he can stay at our home for the night,
as they argue in the dark because the electric bill
is overdue, and their credit is scored
by the proverbial scissors.

Not ones used to cut red ribbons, but
the ones you’re told not to run with.

“Of course he can. I’m sure they’ll love a sleepover,” I answer passively.

“Thanks, we owe you one,” he responds abruptly before disconnecting.

I could have said that owing people one
got them into their predicament.
But, like they say in the Good Book,
(The book I’ve always let collect dust,
not to be confused with the dust
on the box in the garage.)
Love Thy Neighbor.

And sometimes you never know
when you’ll need a cup of sugar.
Thankfully I know there is sugar in the cupboard.
Milk and eggs in the refrigerator.
But no shelves or brackets.

Aisle four, Home Depot, no help.
I figure any will do, and at home
I’m screwed, I mean I have screws.
I’ll ask my son to help me hang them,
somewhat for the company,
also because they’re for his belongings.

The neighbor’s son will talk about the
elaborate woodwork on the rare chestnut
shelves his dad owns.
Surely it’s perception, something
mood lighting can fix,
which his parents are arguing over,
well the lack of  lighting,
seeing as how their mood is already set.

My boy and I will place his
trophies on the shelves,
as I tell my boy I was number three.
Once an MVP.
And the neighbor’s son
will tell me
his father was
number four.

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