i’m cutting back the climbing rose vines and leaning off the edge of the porch trying to reach the ones that have grown up past the gutters.

my next door neighbor is black.

she’s out on her porch and she’s watching me.  we’ve been talking about roses and tattoos and coming up in the city.

my neighbors keep their yard up nicer than we do.

already their lush lawn is mowed in perfect rows and the well kept rose bushes in their backyard have been properly pruned at the right time.

people have been talking to us about white privilege.  someone has to tell you when you’re privileged because when you are, you don’t even know it.  we’ve met two white couples in the city who either have laid down their privilege or who are trying to learn how to. they tell us about their choices and we get knocked on the ground.  it’s easier to stay down there, but we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off.

we have a lot to learn.

my neighbor and i talk.

she tells me about some of the neighbors i haven’t met, the ones she grew up with.  we talk about mothers and loving a child and about how one person can change another’s life.

the sun is sinking low.

i carefully place the thorny green branches into a brown lawn bag.  i get scratched up anyway.  i carry it down to where we both put our garbage cans and climb the steps back onto my own porch.  i look over and say goodnight.

i say it like i’ll say it to my husband later, like i’ll say it to my children.

“good night.”

she says it, too and we both know we’ll see each other in the morning.

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