Weedwhacker and Finch

Weedwhacker and Finch —
could be a legal firm,
but, no, it’s my
retired neighbour
storming the gates again.

As barbarians go,
he’s o.k., doesn’t grumble
or pay too much
attention to the news,
but still plays with a full deck.

He pays his taxes
or has done long enough
to not want the place
to get scruffy. It’s his
rectangle, his bit of turf:

a hedge against death —
enough that he can endure
flicker’s rat-a-tat
and the damn chortling
of finches in the eaves.

He’s had a reprieve —
one heart attack enough,
thank you, and, damn it,
he’ll smoke and hack away
the rest of his days, harrumph.

Rodent of a man,
some character in a bad
western — a Festus
Hagen maybe, eyebrow
twitching over one good eye.

He scrunches his nose
at the exhaust you exude
on his prize peonies,
only they aren’t peonies,
you graciously inform him.

And off he goes,
tail between his knees
for another bit
of cheeze in another trap,
soon enough, the dirt nap.

~ Richard Stevenson

Richard Stevenson lives in Lethbridge and teaches at Lethbridge College. His most recent book is Wiser Pills ( Frontenac House quartet 2008 series). Spotted Cow Press in Edmonton is about to release Tidings of Magpies and Ekstasis Editions in Victoria will shortly release The Emerald Hour, both collections of haiku, senryu, tanka, and zappai. Current projects include a long poem sequence on the Clifford Olson murders, Rock, Scissors, Paper; a collection of tanka and tanka sequences, Windfall Apples; and a mixed collection of lyric/narrative poetry and haiku called A Dog Named Normal, all of which are looking for good homes.

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