Brian Simoneau, "Spring Cleanup"




Kicked to the curb, picked and pruned, refused 

and packed in paper bags—last year’s leftover 

leaves, creeper and prickers, pieces of rock 


a season of frost heaved through sandy soil, all 

the bits of nature’s bounty we cast aside 

to be carted off and turned to who-knows-what: 


feed, fertilizer, decorative wreaths, smoke. 

We open the gates and wield our rakes 

and clippers, stake a claim to nature’s spillage. 


Our tillage may be futile in a week 

but now: neat rows and fresh-trimmed limbs—blistered 

thumbs and thorn-sticks simple sacrifices 


for a short-lived reprieve from the constant 

advance of crabgrass. Down the block, rows of bags

beside the road an honor guard: the over-


abundance we’ve discarded sends us off,

the hardware store another stop on our way 

to a destination we pretend not to know.


Brian Simoneau is the author of River Bound (C&R Press, 2014), which won the De Novo Prize. His poems have appeared in Boulevard, Cave Wall, Crab Orchard Review, Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, Southern Humanities Review, and other journals.