Michael Mingo

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.