Stock After a Hard Dayís Work in the Yard
No one knows this lot as I do.
Every hillock, every declivity.
Each slope, flat, and terrace
I know with my feet, knees, and hands.
There is no portion I havenít trod and taken the measure of.
Iím a scholar of each square foot.
For I built it up.† I mowed it
diagonally, crosscut on a grid,
or spiraling to the center.
I police the pavement cracks,
pit my resolve against the
grass and brazen weeds.
The asphalt is coal black
because I sealed it.
Iíve sunk posts, fenced the borders, hung gates,
dug and wrestled great rootballs in and out,
moved planted, and nursed trees and
cut and shaped the bushes,
sloped and smoothed the contours,
raised walls, swept and shoveled
raked, piled and bagged the golden
I worry about the rain:
sudden swamps, eroding slopes;
about drought:† baked, cracked earth,
crispy tan grass;
early frost, late spring.
I fight the weathermagic.
I pay the price.
Letís be honest, now.
I may suffer the rodents and birds Ė
the squirrels hasten through,
the birds alight and go,
and the chipmunks dart and vanish.
Let them enjoy the earth,
the land is mine.
They hold puny easements,
and they know it.
See how they scatter when I come.
They donít know what property is.
Fee simple.† Absolute.