For weeks, months,
my neighbor’s house has gone dark.
Used to be at least a dim light at night.
A yellow light-bulb kind of glow
to indicate a sign of life.
Now there is nothing.
No car parked in her driveway.
No sight of her in the morning either.
So unusual for her, an early riser.
She used to be in her garden by 7 a.m.
What happened?
It was four years ago,
in January of 2015,
that Death visited our block.
After a long stretch of illness,
our respective spouses passed
within weeks of each other.
Who would have imagined?
Our two houses used to be teaming with life.
Children running and laughing.
Dogs barking.
Scents of home cooking filling the air.
Now, our families become the oldest on the block.
Not even families anymore.
I live alone; so does my neighbor.
Empty nesters.
Survivors from a previous era.
I couldn’t resist calling my neighbor up,
to see how she was doing
this bitter cold January.
The phone rang.
Once, twice, thrice.
The waiting was ominous.
I thought that was it.
Finally she answered.
Said she had been sick since Christmas.
Luckily, nothing serious.
At least she is recovering.
After hanging up the phone,
I was ecstatic.
I jumped with joy.
We are still here.

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Published author, Zen teacher, professor, scientist, philosopher, social commentator, socially-engaged human

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