On the steepest tunnel of trees bent o'er
The sticky black tar of a summer road,
When half the neighbors were on Maine's sea shore,
Keeping up with the Joneses was furloughed.
"Have you seen the new neighbors?" stay-cation crowds
Quietly buzzed, horrified, their bourgeoise
Gossip voices thrilled, panicked, muffled, loud,
"Have you heard them? Do they speak a patois?
Do they act really black? Are they in gang?
How did they afford a house that was so... ?"
And against customs, not one neighbor rang
Their doorbell with wine tied up with a bow.
The children from the street decided they
Would refuse if those kids asked them to play.
The stony silence almost sent the child
Quickly running home in taciturn shame,
But the door opened quickly, and, beguiled,
The boy began bursting, no longer tame.
"I'm Michael!" he told the girl who came to
The door forgetting to check who was there.
"Can I talk to your mom?" he proudly asked.
Her eyes still wide, she dashed wildly upstairs.
The mother descended, her shock unmasked,
He spoke like a peddler selling his wares:
"My Dad is a man with a can-do plan!
He worked hard to move us to go to good
Schools and to college, he's a very good man!
So be nice to us in your neighborhood!"
He then looked up and smiled, resting his case,
But then he saw the door shut in his face.
As surely as they came, the trucks came back,
Furniture began to trickle away,
The boxes gathered quickly, stack by stack,
Into a fort of submission, each day,
Growing taller until the moving trucks
Began taking them away to a new
Neighborhood in a gradual influx
Of furious speed in leaving, living, in lieu
Of their dream, in a place where people looked
More like them, but with worse schools for the boys.
Although they believed that they had been rooked,
They left the neighborhood with pride and poise.
They departed, key left in the doorway,
For the white family that came the next day.