If you say “good morning,” he will look up
from his weeding, or whatever he is doing in
the fenced area of his front yard, look at you
as if he just caught you mid-squat in the dirt,
and turn his wrinkled nose away. If you knock
on his door to talk about his rusted Accord
blocking your driveway, you see his scowling
face in the window—his greeting, a middle finger.
He’s been known to throw things. The family next
door know not to say anything as they pass by
on the sidewalk; he will snarl at them, and nod
to Mr. Torkington, their pet Doberman.
His house smells like musty papers and
dog food. Scout troops are warned from
approaching his door, a girl fractured her
leg when he had chased her away from
his stoop with a rolled up newspaper.
Animal control makes annual inspections
of his house. One time a concerned neighbor,
startled by all the rabbits, called for a wellness
check. They came and took hundreds of
floppy-eared, snuffling rabbits away in crates,
while he hovered by the front door and sobbed.
Spring finds him kneeling in the fresh dirt of his yard
tilling the soil with a trowel, he spies a baby robin
gray and ugly, crying in loud braying cheeps
—sounds too loud for such a tiny body—he
uses the trowel to expose pink fleshy worms
in the muck and the baby bird hops closer,
dodging nimbly between each shower of dirt.
“You deserve better,” he says, clucking his tongue,
and scans the sky for more friends.