You can’t deny it.The moan and hum of the lawn mowers meansSpring is here. Outside work calls.You spent all winter on the interior.Cupboards organized, closets cleaned out.Boxes of old letters and photographs sorted.Useless ones tossed.If you’re trapped in there,It might as well be orderly.You kept the sidewalk clear for necessary trips.Swept the oppressive snow aside just enough.But now there is more than white to the world.The grass grows tall. The retreatOf frost has left the windowsStained. The melting banks revealWhat was left for lost.Paint has peeled and gutters clogged.Know your safety is not guaranteed.Bees still sting and sharp weedsOccupy the flowerbeds.Yet, there are things you can do.There is much out hereThat needsTending.
Things That Go
for my son
It all began with vacuum cleaners,red Dirt Devils,on page thirty-threeof the Sears and Roebuck catalog.We’d sit for hours turningthe pages back and forth,like the rockingof the chair where I sangmy son to sleep,sometimes humming the tune,with a low humlike the sound of a well-tunedmotor. Then he moved onto construction vehicles,earth movers–backhoesand front-end loaders.Next, came semis–Mack,Peterbilt, International,trucks he could name at nightby headlights comingdown the road.But it all beganwith vacuum cleaners.Each time I turned ours on,he’d dance around the roomand sing.
Joseph Radke was born and raised in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he currently lives in Waco, Texas with his bloodhound, Sherlock. He works in Baylor University’s Information Technology Center and is completing his Master’s degree in American Studies at Baylor. This is his first publication.
Ann Lynn has worked as a social worker, freelance editor and writer, and poetry teacher with children. She has received numerous awards for her own writing. Her poems have been published in The Christian Science Monitor, Many Mountains Moving, Fresh Ground, and Graffiti Rag, among many other places. She recently moved with her family to Atlanta from Chicago and is connected to Texas through her husband’s parents, who live in Smithville.
–Naomi Shihab Nye