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What Grows, and Some DivisionsJohn Clegg
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Vol. 38 No. 7 · 31 March 2016
Poem

What Grows, and Some Divisions

John Clegg

256 words

Space programs/screwbean mesquite/barrel cactus
Ecoregion/section/tract

        The intricacies of a desert
        lawncare business,
        ‘Quarter million a year’
        says José Luis, carefully,
        two cylinders of rolled lawn
        harnessed to his flatbed.
        I took them for lumber
        till I saw him truck them through the car-wash

        which procedure
        so he told me
        he repeated every hundred miles.
        These were destined for a county courthouse.
        His son, tall strong boy,
        came out the restroom, vaulted to the cab

Heat creep in metal/arrowweed/salt cedar
Freeway/sightline/spitting distance

        Evening they’ll
        unfurl the turf like prayer-mats
        over nothing earth
        prepped minimally,
        one bare step from dust.
        He showed me how the sprinkler jib
        rotated in its mechanism:
        that small click I knew

        from suburb walks at night in proper cities.
        Nothing could it draw from underneath
        he said, nor did the roots make purchase.
        When the buyer moved out
        he could roll his lawn back up
        and take it with him

Mortgage payments owing/yucca/velvet mesquite
Habitat/range/territory

        There was a lot of moving out
        in evidence along our vector:
        one after another, deathbed towns
        whose rationale was irretrievable.
        The stretch between
        the bright spots in the web grew wider.
        José Luis and his son spent more time each year
        driving lawn to lawn.

        They had a tanker-trailer
        for the feed.
        They both shook hands
        goodbye, we overtook them
        one gas station later. I believe
        they drove almost in silence and such distances

Hard thoughts/tasajillo/sweet acacia
Boundary line/state line/horizon

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