By: Julie Nelson
I wanted to write poems all morning.
But because it’s my turn and because I promised
I mowed the lawn instead with only a little bitterness
over the way life goes on and on like this.
I thought about tradeoffs as I mowed,
row by row, mesmerized by the lines I was making
in the grass, all the while my mind moving on ahead of me,
kind and wise, the spinning blades of reverie reaping an overgrown meadow.
From nowhere dad appeared beside me, same as always,
wearing a golf cap and Dockers, stained green from clippings, and sweating
his sport shirt until wet through, the two of us mowing, two by two,
together, then weeding an imaginary garden all afternoon.
I wonder what he thought about, mowing down the years,
planting seeds in April, raking leaves in fall.
Was there someplace he’d rather have been?
Or was it for him as it is for me a kind of sowing, a way of shaping
a life worth having, going out on hot days and cold, unafraid
Julie Nelson is an educator and creative writer living in Iowa City, Iowa. She writes poems and stories and currently is at work on a novel.
"Often poems come to me while I'm doing something else. Reverie came to me one day while I was gardening and doing yard work. I was thinking of my father, and it was as though he were with me in the moment. My hands were weeding and planting flowers but my mind was back in Michigan, with my dad, a long time ago. I could feel him near though we are a thousand miles apart. I wanted him to know I remembered the things he taught me."