You have to walk the property
to get a feel for the shape of it,
a trapezoid 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
two 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
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.