This white picket fence

and the gorgeous garden it protects
create the picture-perfect stereotype
of what it means to live the American dream:
a life of abundance, success and contentment.

What you can’t see in this picture
is that the house beyond this garden
doesn’t quite match the dream.
It’s a run-down victim of neglect
with peeling paint and broken windows,
missing shutters and a tattered roof.

The people who live here
may not have the means or time
to keep their house in good condition,
but someone is certainly tending
to that garden,
ensuring that no matter what happens
at home,
there is always an oasis of calm
where flowers and dreams still bloom.