Salome Magazine
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LAce Posted Monday, February 3rd, 2003
Choking Time
Lynn Sanders

The leaf burnt season's air blows warm and cold
brings tighter lungs, drives home a premonition
of shortened breath, of throttled speech

and the forecast from the fifteen minute bard
this'll be the day that I die
seems not a fleeting thing to meditate upon

But even if this autumn day jumps up
to seize the last words in my throat, the grass will grow
and now I'm the one who has to mow.

It takes some steel to toss aside the dog-eared
lojong teachings book, untangle from the wedding
ring quilt and push the small machine

into the driveway, spilling not a tear
of gasoline. I searched the Web and learned
a well-tuned lawnmower blade tip travels

at the deadly speed of a Winston Cup car
racing in Atlanta. Clearly then there's nothing
mean about my feat, but Google cannot tell me

what to do. I type choke and the Toro
stays still. Where's the ripcord that I saw you pull,
what am I supposed to do to make sparks fly?

I'll have to take the paper route, rifle through
the dreadful flotsam drawer. Filed receipts show proof
of some investment, warranties securing the future

of the refrigerator and the dryer, among the rest
a paper license that's become unthinkable.
But here in print the manual I sought

so instructed, now I choke the bull myself, spew
noisy fumes, set to spinning the herbal guillotine
and make a bovine tool roar to life.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Terrence Templeton on Tuesday, February 4th, 2003 at 11:36 AM
What a powerful poem! The rhyme at the end of the third stanza caught me, for sure. You know how Shakespeare always rhymes the last two lines of his sonnets, to call attention to the sum-up? It works the same way here. Rhyme is such a useful tool - it's a shame so few poets use it these days.

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