Neighbor Curse

by Carrie Oeding

Thanks for never using the garden tools
I loaned you, which you never returned.
I’ve been watching.
You won’t have any tomatoes this summer.

Thanks for being so nice to my dog.
I saw you slip her treats
so one of us would like you.

Thanks for having no tomatoes this summer.
I would’ve trained my dog to eat them.

Even though you don’t have a wife
for my wife to know, thanks
for getting to know my wife.
I know you’ll try to have her
slip off her useless garden clogs
and walk a little softer on your floors.

A lot, a lot, of thanks—
I won’t have any tomatoes this summer.

Thank you— for I trust myself. I had a hunch about you,
and loaned you the garden tools
so you’d prove me right.

CARRIE OEDING’s work has appeared in such places as DIAGRAM, BREVITY, Colorado Review, Best New Poets, and many others. She has a Ph.D. in creative writing from Ohio University. Her first manuscript has been a semi-finalist for a number of book contests such as the Vassar Miller Poetry Prize and the Brittingham and Pollack Poetry Awards.