Maintenance

Mostly I feel uncomfortable explaining
what I’ve done with this thing they call
my life: the choices I’ve made, when
at the same time I wonder how much
real capacity anyone ever has
to choose. This morning I pull
a haphazard rake through stiff grass,
collecting dry pine needles in a heap
then stuffing them into a plastic lawn bag.
They fall at random, not choosing.
The theme is always, always existential.
So eventually I give up.
You can tell from the abrupt
meeting of clean and unkempt
edges marking property lines
which homeowner seems to believe
it’s possible to assert control
within what’s called the domicile:
from the Latin domicilium,
from domus, “house;” in law
“that residence from which
there is no intention to remove,
or a general intention to return.”

I make a game of tossing fallen
pine cones in a heap at the base
of the crepe myrtle. Like everything
else, in time, won’t they also
disintegrate, matter illustrating
that impulse to go back to some
previous state? I don’t feel
criminal for not owning a leaf-
blower, for sometimes choosing
not to choose too hard.

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