With elbows on the windowsill

she monitors gossip on the street.

The lady’s got no Ph.D.

or even a college degree,

but she thinks real hard about

the foolishness she sees.

She wonders why a teenager

throws a friend’s sneakers

around wires between the poles.

Mean-spirited teasing isn’t funny.

She reflects on whether countries

provoke each other in the same

poke-you-in-the-eye way,

sending missiles, stealing land,

or assassinating political leaders.

She asks herself: Why are folks unkind

in my own home town? Impatient

with the elderly, who hobble behind

a supermarket cart. Under their breath,

you can hear them say: “Get out of my way

you bumbling old fool!”

“Love thy neighbor,” a forgotten mantra.

She tries her best to ignore an ear-drubbing

noisy neighbor, who practices relentlessly

on his BMX ramp for the Red Bull Phenom.

To help her cope with daily frustrations,

she sing’s Charlie Chaplin’s “Spring Song Of Love,”

reminding her to love her lunatic neighbor

as she loves herself, the tarnished Golden Rule

that must be polished over and over again

in order to never lose its luster and sheen.

Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. Leonia, N.J. 07605