Good Neighbours

by Adrian Hogan

He’d kick his football
over the six-foot fence
that bordered our gardens.
I’d find that ball
alongside a blushing rose
or a shocked marigold.
 
I’d leave it for a few days
then shoot that ball, netball-style,
loop it over the wooden defence
and through the hoop in my head;
then salute the waving flowers
and curtsey to the bushes.
 
This went on all summer,
kick and shoot, kick and shoot;
then one afternoon on the patio
almost oblivious to the ball
nesting in my bedding plants,
I heard the gate unlatch
 
and this man appeared.
I knocked back my drink,
a blend of fruit with a punch
of spirit, and looked him up
and down, the vodka kicking in.
He asked me, if my electric was off.
 
Well, not yours, he said, your house.
No metaphor intended, he said.
I heard a laugh, it was mine.
He looked around my garden,
admiringly, I thought, and then he said,
I see you’ve got your ball back.