Rural Sound Check
after John Brehm
Nothing but pebbles sliding under my sneakers, nothing but groundhogs and garter snakes darting through leaves on the roadside, the rotating blades cutting clumps of wet grass, grinding through pinecones and thick twigs, my father shouting, "You'll break the goddamn mower!" while my mother rips apart the dandelion stems out of spite and watches as yet another acorn plummets and smacks the cracked driveway, rolling beneath the chassis of our abandoned station wagon, tapping the half-deflated tire like the bumblebee bouncing against the screen door, who gives up and zips through the wind chimes and the window shutters, where bats are fast asleep for the time being, but they'll emerge tonight, screeching as sudden as the doorbell the salesman hammers across the street, begging our neighbors to answer, to stammer straight from their Sunday siestas, stumble to the landing and listen, just listen, I have good news for you.
Michael Mingo is pursuing an MFA in poetry at the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. His work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, Barnstorm, Cherry Tree, and Isthmus, among others.