mulch

by Brandon Walsh Issue: Spring 2019

 

mulch

for Huddy and Val

 

our first job was a lazy heist: too young

to drive, the doctor in his bathrobe hauled us

to an empty lot where a new round

of halfway-built faux-Mansions stood hollow

 

like a mouth of fake teeth. the forests razed

to make room for the monstrosities sat

in mountains of chipped mulch, old oak, maple,

rendered lawn shards, and fresh for our taking.

 

the doctor’s wife hired us at the gym--

since we looked like strong, young guys, maybe

we could come by her house on the mountain

for ten bucks an hour and some free lunch;

 

the three of us did the math instantly,

a few hours would put us in thirty racks

of Milwaukee’s Best for the rest of August,

an eighth of weed, several McChickens too.

 

that’s why, two days later, the doctor drove

along the ridge, naked under his robe,

to that spot, dead sunday quiet, the trunk

packed with punctured burlap sacks, and we rushed

 

the mulchy hills, quickly, he advised,

before a real estate agent stops by.

we cut our palms on sawmill smells, wedged chips

clung to our bootlaces and cargo pants,

 

and fell to the idling car, bags bursting.

we spread the mulch around their pond, their two

perfect acres, fruit trees and heat-drooped pines,

we planted two oaks and covered their roots

 

with the bodies of dead maples. only once

did we turn to one another, dirt-browed,

to say how strange this world is, each thing

bent on stealing something it doesn’t need;

 

the doctor’s wife made us cheese sandwiches.

we crept to the deck, sore, mosquito-lumped,

drank wet-summer air, the dewey deck chairs,

to feast, dreaming of hours as objects.

 

we stained the bread with grimy, glutton hands--

we ate even the dust on our fingers.



Brandon Walsh

Brendan Walsh has lived and taught in South Korea, Laos, and South Florida. His work appears in Glass Poetry, Indianapolis Review, Baltimore Review, Wisconsin Review, American Literary Review, and other journals. He is the author of four books, including Go (Aldrich Press) and Buddha vs. Bonobo (Sutra Press). His chapbook, fort lauderdale, is forthcoming from Grey Book Press. He’s online at www.brendanwalshpoetry.com/.