Yard Work | Suzanne Capehart

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today we swept the dirt
moving like paint brushes our brooms
in the loamy sand
transforming tiny stones,
bits of goat droppings and
stray mango leaves into
striated rainbows

each reed brush’s raspy breath
a puff of coffee-colored dust
the fallen mango blossoms, dollops of cream
a milder spouting than I once encountered
by the lawnmower’s rapid spit fire
the yard dotted with clumps of sweet-smelling carcasses

but I remember the way that same whirring tank
would tremble as his gnashing teeth
grazed an old wary snake of a chain

here, the children and I merely hold our brooms and our breaths
as a green mamba lightly drops out of the mango tree
to paint a sinuous curve on our blank dusty canvas

Suzanne Capehart is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin. She graduated from the College of Wooster in 2011.

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