Until I was allowed to mow the grass,
I imagined I never would. I’d lie in the yard,
flat on my back, ticks and grass stains
my last concerns, plucking clovers
from their roots to make the world’s
longest clover chain.
When I heard the engine fire up in the garage,
I’d flee for the house, mourning the loss
of my beloved clovers as the mower’s blades
cut their lives prematurely short.
Today, dipping in and out of trees,
dodging stray white pine needles and spruces,
there’s a lot I wish I could share
with the little girl kicking her feet up
in the spattered sunshine.
I’d let her know that joy can be gleaned
from an accomplishment as mundane
as cutting five acres in a day, even if
it’s no Guinness world record for
the longest chain of flowers.
I’d give her the taste of a Granny Smith
straight from the branches, so she’d know
it’s just as satisfactorily sour as when
she’d climb into the treetops to reach it.
I’d make sure she bit around the bugs.
I’d allow her to slather herself with sunscreen,
mow whimsical patterns against the wind
and have its caress wash away afternoon’s heat.
I’d want her to inhale deeply as the tires
crushed pears and rotten apples, sickly sweet
perfume filling her nostrils for a moment.
Most of all, though, I’d want her to understand
that just as many poems are born in the mind
of a broken woman in the seat of a riding mower
as there are in the heart of a little girl lying
in a meadow, crowned with clover chains.