The better part of an acre of mortgaged lawn

demarcated by circular driveway, gravel paths,

boardwalk to pool deck, islands of

rhododendron, aspidistra, pear and cherry.


Four hours of mowing, on a good day.

Something he has insisted upon doing himself.

Not a bad workout in the magnificent heat.


But his mind, insufficiently engaged,

tends to wander off into the dogwood shadows

to witness flashbacks of infidelity, examine conjugal scars.


He lurches into the azaleas on the still wet slope.

As he pulls the mower from the hedge, he observes

that his throttle hand has snatched

a fistful of velvety blossoms, cool, pink and damp.


Yard Work

Having mowed the lawns from front to back,

Sam finds himself seated upon the low rock wall,

under the inconstant sun.  Well, and so, what now?


Past silent, a hawk passes from left to right.

Sam considers that several people have died or left him.

He hadn’t hung on their every word.


Is sitting upon a rock wall after mowing the same as

soaring above a grove of fir trees to the river?

Is missing someone the same as loving her?


A dog howls, in a yard across the expressway.

Coyote answers, shyly, from cover beyond the tracks.

It is daytime, after all.  Confusing.


Hawk returns from river whence.

About now, she’d be bringing Sammy a glass of wine.


by Ted Jean


Ted is a recently retired carpenter. In the past year, his work has appeared in Pear Noir, where it has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, as well as DIAGRAM, Gargoyle, elimae, Magma, Blue Earth Review, twenty or more other publications.

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