Wednesday, June 27, 2012


This summer my nephew
is old enough for his first job:
mowing the lawn.

I watch him lean his skinny chest
to the bar of the pushmower,
put his weight into it, and become,

for the first time, a beast in harness,
a laborer on the face of the earth,
somehow withering and expanding at the same time

into something worn and ancient, but still
a kid withal. And I remember
how bitterly I went into the traces,

hating that Saturday ritual
for a while, then growing inexplicably
into it, gradually mastering

the topography of the yard,
sometimes using the back and forth technique,
sometimes going for the checkerboard effect,
or my favorite, the ever-diminishing square
that left, at the lawn's center, one
last uncut stand of grass, a wild fortress

I annihilated with a strange thrill,
then stood back to take a look—
to survey the field. To cast

a critical eye on my work.
Just as this kid is doing, standing
at the edge of the mowed clearance.

Taking his own measure. And liking it.

- George Bilgere


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