The backyard wall
stands guard between me
and the cemetery
on the other side.

My garden haven
is a riot of color,
red-hot pokers stoked
like flaming swords.

The far side is devoid
of life, headstones drab
as concrete slabs
of high-rise flats;

a living death: freedom
of expression is withheld,
travel rights suppressed;
scarcities abound.

Tenacious as a border
guard’s Alsatian,
ivy sinks its vicious
teeth into the wall:

its fall will force
a regime change,
unite me with
that darker side. 

This poem originally ran in the September 15, 2011 issue of the magazine.