The stakes grunted beneath his old mallet,
slowly marking off another spring garden.
But it’s winter now and there’s his oldest
tossing each soil-browned stake aside
before turning to the shed, a huge tarp and
chainlink improvisation like some low
burial mound only he could enter
upright, bent over as he already was.
He would prop his irritable mower
up on a few cinderblocks and be there
all day, the Marine tattoo near the wrist
bobbing or stretching depending on the tool.
Now the tarp pulled down, now just some roofless
unearthed room, the fence no more a barrier,
his things spread on the soil he had planted.
The son’s there all night, heavy with the
same sounds of his father, undoing decades.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 4.
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