The Manly Arts

by gm

Carmine Starnino


Most lawns are shit.
People mow too short, mow
one way,
use dull blades, over-water,
never topdress,
grow the wrong grass.
They let their rugrats run
on shaggy, dun turf
gouged with dead spots
they’re too lazy
to seed. Gone to hell, yards
and flutter in the breeze.
I’ve set my jaw
against such slovenly tricks.
My lawn?
A quarter-acre slice
of coiffed
carpet. Barefoot, you float
on tight-bundled
packets of air.
A lawn like this, my friend,
doesn’t come free.
Weekends, you’ll find me
on my stomach, tweezering weeds.
A man
who close-crops his land
is a man you can trust.
He bends to his duty: turns his allotted
fraction of earth
into perfection’s address.
This afternoon, after my ministrations,
I held my dozing
month-old daughter
and gazed out on my oeuvre,
the just-cut scent,
getting high on the sense
of order it exhaled:
sward pulled tight and tucked in
at each corner,
flat as billiard baize;
a plain Canadian yard
made new.