My Neighbor

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My neighbor is a rarity.
A busy sushi chef, a devoted single father,
His posture seemed worried to me,
Always walking and turning keys.

I stayed alert all summer and finally caught him.
At our apartment’s mailbox I asked about dinner,
Something nondescript? And (oh!) he agreed.
“This is how neighbors are made,” I sang on my insides.
I warmed and grew wide with joy;
My soul rose and sat back like a piano lid.

The day came, brimming with expectancy.
I rang him in the afternoon to confirm our time,
But he answered his phone in the next town over;
He had forgotten and was playing baseball.
He apologized. I lied and said “Hey, no problem.”
Numb, I ate our meal alone.

Someday, the earth will have concord.
We will know what things mean to people.

Someday, humanity will awaken.
Heavy laden with unfulfillment,
He will gather this from us,
And it will look so small.

Wide with joy,
We will rise and sit back.
And then we will eat,
Laughing at the past.

For now, nothing is harder than
Loving my neighbor as I wish I was loved.

About the Author

Simon Cunningham is a church planter for Roots Church, Seattle, Wash.