SAMPLE POEM: Orthomax (or, “How I Learned to Love the Lawn”)

I’ve got no quarrel with creeping woodsorrel,
Wild violets, yellow rocket, shepherd’s purse–
My lawn, new and improved.
Moss and mushrooms telling the grass it’s just not strong enough
That the fescue lacks fortitude
Not cut out for this environment
Too stodgy, perhaps
Not enough sex appeal
Should have brought flowers

My neighbors disagree
And so do their Mitt Romney bumper stickers
They believe in the gospel of Tru Green
Mowing just as their fathers mowed before them mowed before them
Straight lines back and forth like Vanilla Ice’s fade
The geometric figure most pleasing to the Great God Lawn
In his avatar of Property Values
In his avatar of Perfect Rectangles
In his avatar of Respectability
The 2-stroke drone every Sunday morning is the mantra:
“Good sprayers make good neighbors”

And so that my beloved dandelions do not fly too far from home and cause trouble
(I used to pick them in bouquets for my mother when I was 7.
Mrs. Kent would not appreciate such a gesture.)
Because spores cannot fly as far as the wind would have you believe
Here I am in gloves and gas mask
Because my parents will have to sell this house someday
Here I am for a lousy twenty bucks
A green portrait of Andrew Jackson, who wasted Seminoles like seminal fluids
Let us commence the genocide of the germander speedwell
Let us shoot down fluffy white paratroopers
Let us spray and neuter our lawns
The hose drools an herbicidal syrup
I am become Orthomax, destroyer of weeds

(originally appeared in the Spring/Summer 2013 edition of The MacGuffin)


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