Reign in Love
By Alberto Sveum
Under his weathered John Deere trucker cap,
a limp cigarette swings and Howard scowls
as he tells me not to come back
for at least two weeks. July is too dry
for me to haul the mower over so often.
He grunts, wriggles in his wheelchair,
thumbs over a ragamuffin Jackson
from his faded blue jeans.
I don’t bother to tell him
school starts soon anyway
and I won’t be returning.
I secure the mower in my trunk with a spare pair
of shoelaces. From my 95’ Continental—
my purple boat, older than me—
Slayer and Maiden scream out,
I imagine escaping
the adolescent stranglehold
to the fervor of something new.
My retro Nikes are scuffed, jade green stains,
deep scrapes on the suede. I could step out,
feel the rainstorm’s whisk,
look to the saturated soil,
the exaltation of the turf,
be thankful for a job,
instead, because, oh my God,
I’m always so under thumb,
I see the summer’s torrent,
dismal clouds approaching,
the ire in lawn clippings
choking the storm drain.