Penn State York

Accidental Observer by J.J. Sheffer

Mid-morning on a weekday
I’m supposed to be at work
they come to take our leaves–
the big, noisy truck
sliding slowly along the curb
a crew of four burly men
in fluorescent yellow vests
following close behind
like prison guards
making sure the long heaps
don’t get out of line

I watch through the front window
far enough back
so as not to be discovered–
can’t take my eyes
off their tiny blue rakes
wonder whether they can possibly
be sufficient for this job
picture my broad, heavy-duty stand-by
resting against the wall of the garage
tines twisted into
a fighting stance
after seasons of wrangling
rogue spots of color
from lawn to street

The thugs outside lumber along
wielding their skinny rakes
kicking here and there
with the toe of a work boot
feeding the monster
hitched to the municipal truck
removing all traces
of sun and growth and renewal
having come to call