Why I Never Mow My Lawn

As far as all the neighbors are concerned,
there’s nothing worse than lovegrass taking over
the yard, or blades of witchgrass flourishing,
showing her bare seeds to the cul-du-sac.
Oh dear, the chickweeds with their alabaster
petals are about to bloom. The foxtails
curl and flop. A patch of clovers whiten.
Stinkgrass spreads without a lick of shame.
Sunflowers open up their golden petals
like a robe for all the street to see
the ochre button that invites the bees
to come and touch the center of themselves.
Each spring, I love the saturnalia
of weeds, the scattering of smutgrass, sandburs
gently prickling my tender skin,
the morning glories pink and filled with glory.

The HOA has other plans and issues
a citation: Mow it down or else!
I’ll take the ticket, Thank you very much,
and wade into my sea of towering grasses,
to feel their tickle on my naked legs.

Katherine Hoerth is the author of five poetry collections, including the forthcoming Flare Stacks in Full Bloom (Texas Review Press, 2022). She is the recipient of the 2021 Poetry of the Plains Prize from North Dakota State University Press and the 2015 Helen C. Smith Prize from the Texas Institute of Letters for the best book of poetry in Texas. Her work has been published in numerous literary magazines including Literary Imagination (Oxford University Press), Valparaiso Review, and Southwestern American Literature. She is an assistant professor at Lamar University and editor of Lamar University Literary Press. 

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