Posts Tagged ‘neighbor’


Lago Maggiore, Italy © Jim Korpi

The woman upstairs wears high heels in her house at night while she struts down her hallway. The sound reminds me of the time my brother and I were at a swimming hole one summer as kids. “Go under water and tell me what this sounds like,” he said and then tapped two round, wet stones together. “What does it sound like?” he asked when I came to the surface.
It sounds like your neighbor upstairs who wears her high heals in the house at night, quick thuds submerged under a lake of concrete.

A wonderful life


Delivering Christmas Cookies to Neighbors, Athens, Ohio © Jim Korpi

“Isn’t it wonderful!
So many faces!
Mary did it, George!
Mary did it!
She told some people you were in trouble, and then they scattered all over town collecting money.
They didn’t ask any questions – just said: ‘If George is in trouble, count me in…” – It’s a Wonderful Life

The Source


Neighbor’s Cattle, Athens, Ohio © Jim Korpi

“Who is really living next door to you? To what extent do you know the answer?
and therefore for a minute now and then… are grateful for their presence?”
Hafiz, A Year With Hafiz: Daily Contemplations

I see David more now that he is dead.

I see ghosts. Not the glowing figure of someone gone, but a burning memory like staring at the sun and looking away only to continue seeing spheres. The more years I live the more ghosts I see.

A man at the market walks with the same casual pleasure. The world spun and David stuck out his foot to meet it.

A laugh at the coffee shop echoes David’s. The smile from a man David’s age comes from the same genes. If he no longer exists in the flesh, he lives in those around me. His death connects us.

David was the first person to die who I can say I loved. He was a neighbor across the street. His garden was greener. His flowers blossomed. Cars would stop at the sign in front of our houses, and the drivers would look to David’s yard for signs of progress and secretly for silent advice on their own planting schedules. This was my technique. David knew better. He lived here his whole life. I was a transplant.

David watched me haul buckets of water from the house on a hot June day. I walked out the front door for the second time with five-gallon buckets of water sloshing and spilling onto my legs and watched with surprise as a rainbow of mist moved across my salad greens and corn. On the other end of the rainbow was David, smiling. His hose draped across his left hand and his right was holding the source. A damp line on the warm pavement between our homes connected his yard to mine.


Darius’ Bike, Athens, Ohio © Jim Korpi

“What would your life be like if you had a new car?” Annah asks me after a cold morning thickens the diesel fuel in our vehicle and raises doubts of us moving from where we sit. The car starts hesitantly like an old goat refusing to pasture in a field it’s already been. “You wouldn’t have to worry all the time.”


Red Maple Roots © Jim Korpi

It’s old. Maybe 100 years. Hell, maybe 200. The rings are rotten in the middle, so it’s hard knowin’ not countin’.
But Sheila’s house is caving in from the root system hitting her basement wall, and ours is being pushed to its foundational limits.
Half and half. That’s how they split the bill after a local group of entrepreneurs made our decaying red maple into next winter’s firewood.
It was a conundrum. The giant tree sat exactly in the center of the imaginary line dividing Sheila’s property from ours, which we rent. She wasn’t willing to let the expanding roots deform her house any longer. It had to come down. My landlord wasn’t so concerned. He questioned whether it was worth the cost considering the shape of the house and thought it would be more financially cunning to allow the tree its natural right of taking out the house. This way insurance money could be collected and a more profitable unit built.
The tree is down. There’s more sun on the back porch, and Sheila seems less concerned.