Kim Chinquee ~ Lucky

I walk across the street, bring­ing the Sangria I con­coct­ed, the veg­an choco­late truf­fles, the banana bread I made for the first time with­out eggs. I have fun bak­ing and cook­ing stuff that is pre­sumed to be healthy.

I see these peo­ple often, wav­ing to them across the road, or when I walk my dog, Luck, pass­ing them on the side­walk. Until this, I hadn’t been invit­ed to their par­ties. One of our neigh­bors is mov­ing: the fam­i­ly direct­ly across from me. They’ve lived here for two years. They had their house built, ground up, like the rest of us.

I enter through the open garage, say­ing hi to the guy who owns that home. Then hel­lo to the guy who lives on the oth­er side of me— I haven’t seen him in months. He was away on assign­ment. Inside, I put down my food and say hel­lo to all the peo­ple. I’m fash­ion­ably late. Another neigh­bor lady I know says, Pour your­self a bev­er­age.

She lives across the street, a few lots over. She’s retired, and her hus­band is dis­abled. Sometimes I see her in the morn­ing, walk­ing her dog in her paja­mas.

They are doc­tors, lawyers. Business own­ers. One guy’s an elec­tri­cian. Some of us are teach­ers.

We’re in many ways alike, though maybe dif­fer­ent by our hair and skin. By our pref­er­ences and sizes. By prob­a­bly our blood types and sleep pat­terns and the things we like to eat and with whom we choose to part­ner.

This is a brand new street. A brand new neigh­bor­hood. All of us are new here.

One neigh­bor says to me, You’re ripped.

I say, I’m an ath­lete! I’m a farm girl.

I talk to the neigh­bor who lives on my close side. Then to my oth­er neigh­bor, and anoth­er neigh­bor, who says, Isn’t this love­ly, what we have here?

I say, How’d I get so lucky!?

Another says, Your grass is so damn green.

The builder had some­one put in oak trees in the park­way last October. They looked dead. I asked the guy who plant­ed my tree if it was alive, and whose respon­si­bil­i­ty is it?

I watered it by default. I had patch­es in my grass, filled them in with seed, so I went out there with my sprin­kler.

I’m here with my neigh­bors, drink­ing wine and toast­ing.

I used to kill every plant I owned.

I tell every­body thank you.

~

Kim Chinquee’s new book, Snowdog, from which this work is tak­en is com­ing from Ravenna Press in January 2021. She is also the author of the col­lec­tions Oh Baby, Pretty, Pistol, Veer, Shot Girls, and Wetsuit. Her work has appeared in hun­dreds of jour­nals and antholo­gies includ­ing NOON, Denver Quarterly, Conjunctions, The Nation, Ploughshares, Fiction, New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, Notre Dame Review, the Pushcart Prize antholo­gies, and oth­ers. She is an edi­tor at New World Writing, asso­ciate pro­fes­sor and co-direc­tor of the Writing Major at SUNY-Buffalo State, and she serves as AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Northeast Regional Chair and as a mem­ber of the AWP Board of Directors.