Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Poem: "Labor Day"

Labor Day

There is a small square
of grass next door,
hopeful, for which a man
buys a lawnmower
no bigger than the square.
It sits neat, pleased in presentation.

On weekends he stands sweaty,
fuzzy eyes swollen from sleep,
rocking the machine
like his drowsy child.
He inches a rhythm, happy
in the motor's burps,
in the prelude to a sneeze.

In the alley beyond,
bulging from belts, men
rumble in dust, trucks
spacious with discards, marking
time by the left behind.

I always wish for the truck
with the blue plastic virgin,
Mary, who could light up
if she wanted, strapped
precariously proud, to the roof.

One day she will cradle
a lawnmower that fit, perfectly,
in a small square of grass.

Possessively whispering lullabies,
with hard hands she will clutch
blade to grass-stained breast,
greedy for the forgotten
currency of production.

                    - JVH

(Revised 9/17/10)


  1. You have a beautiful sense of language, Julia. Here, you really capture a drifting, lazy day. I love the third stanza. You describe these so well. The ending loses me a little though. What is it about the loss of the lawnmower that this Mary truck can save? There is something larger here, I feel, than merely the exchange of things that once worked to the alley. Keep writing!

  2. You know, you're right. This doesn't feel finished to me either, mainly because of the ending, but I'm glad to have posted it for your feedback. Back to the cutting room floor.