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The Man Into Whose Yard You Should Not Hit Your Ball

by
 each day mowed
and mowed his lawn, his dry quarter acre,
the machine slicing a wisp
from each blade's tip.
Dust storms rose around the roar: 6:00 P.
M.
, every day, spring, summer, fall.
If he could mow the snow he would.
On one side, his neighbors the cows turned their backs to him and did what they do to the grass.
Where he worked, I don't know but it sets his jaw to: tight.
His wife a cipher, shoebox tissue, a shattered apron.
As if into her head he drove a wedge of shale.
Years later his daughter goes to jail.
Mow, mow, mow his lawn gently down a decade's summers.
On his other side lived mine and me, across a narrow pasture, often fallow; a field of fly balls, the best part of childhood and baseball, but one could not cross his line and if it did, as one did in 1956 and another in 1958, it came back coleslaw -- his lawn mower ate it up, happy to cut something, no matter what the manual said about foreign objects, stones, or sticks.

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