Pagosa Springs Artists


You have to walk the property

to get a feel for the shape of it,

a trapezod filled with dozens

of trees.  Along one sloping side

rises a low ridge.  A two-lane

macadam fronts the longest side.

A farm field edges the shortest.


I dress in old clothes to mow

because the Yazoo is dirty

and greasy, its red paint faded

and peeling, the deck piled

with musty dried grass cuttings.


Filling gas tanks that look like

saddlebags, I check the oil.

Then swing a leg over the center

post as I start up the engine,

which turns over with a snort

of smoke and an uncertain shudder

before settling into a mechanical roar.


Engaging the blades, I mindfully

settle into the task ahead of me,

starting a circuit of the property that

follows the bordering perimeter.

At each tree encountered, I swing

around its circumference, outside

leg hung out for balance as the

zero-turning-radius mower

makes its tight circle.


Daring the length of the slope,

I lean into its height as I travel

the angling hillside.  I follow

the edge of each mowed swath

pass-by-pass as I continue to circle

the perimeter, slowly arcing inward.

Pass after pass.  Round and round I

mow, letting my mind wander as I go.


published on the Chicago Poets & Patrons Society website; Honorable Mention

in the P & P 2017 Poetry Contest, Midwest Category.


first published in Chicago Poets & Patrons

also published in Star Poets Magazine

also published in Lutheran Digest

©2017 Bonnie Manion


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