Suburban Desire
Julie Brooks Barbour

The dream ends where it begins, in images
that consume you, an advertisement
of domestic bliss: a home with a yard

for your family, the latest appliances,
and a suburb of neighbors to welcome you.
What you reach toward consists of glittered air,

a weightlessness you carry like a stone.
You want to believe in the minivan
but can only afford a four-door compact.

You live in a townhouse without a garage
and can hear your neighbors through
the living room wall. In the summer

you take your kids to the city park
instead of Disney World. You believe
in progress. You dream. The fairy tales

you read to your daughter each night
feature heroines who move from poor
to rich lives and overcome adversity.

There’s always a happy ending.
After you tuck your daughter in
and turn out her bedroom light,

the story you’ve read gives you hope.
That, coupled with hard work,
is your solution.  You won’t give in

to exhaustion. You won’t fail.
One day you’ll have more than
the neighbor you hear through the wall.

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