The Weird Family's Kid
First warm weekend in spring - people walk dogs
with impunity. In my neighborhood
there is a dog in every family
but mine. They all parade past my window-
furry little leash-puffs the size of bees,
hulking hounds as tall as a sunflower.
I know their names. The pug in the flowered
sweater is Bessie. The big police dog
is Bear. He likes to snap at honeybees.
Fred and Ginger trot through my neighborhood,
two Corgis in tandem. Through my window
it's a kennel show - all the families
strut them proudly - all but my family.
My parents are allergic to flowers,
and anything that floats in the window -
dust, pollen, smoke, and especially dog
and cat hair. I stroll through the neighborhood
petting every dog, avoiding the bees.
My folks are even allergic to bees.
Just how I escaped all these family
traits is a mystery. The neighborhood
is a battleground for them. No flowers
in our yard, and obviously, no dogs
or cats. And we always keep the windows
closed. Our neighbors see our blinded windows
and shake their heads. But I don't want to be
seen as a weirdo. That label won't dog
me to adulthood. When those families
see me on the street smelling the flowers,
speeding on my bike through the neighborhood,
they will say, "Look, there's that nice neighborhood
kid, the one whose parents keep their windows
shut - he's not so bad." When my life flowers,
when I've learned all about the birds and bees,
I'll move out from this shut-in family,
and maybe even get myself a dog.
People in this neighborhood buzz like bees.
They want families with open windows,
who plant flowers and like to walk their dogs.