after the mowing is done


Many things, amongst them, Martians,
are allegorically immune,
just and only themselves.

What might now be learned?
Shall we hang our knowledge bright
on wooden poles, defiant glows beneath the arc
of Google Sky?

When the ladybugs conquered my kitchen
their ultimatum made reference to aphids and fleas,
and so with the Martians—a hunger for
combustible life.

Such mighty warriors they are,
gilded helmets horned with aftershave
and roll-on deodorant, cuirasses ablaze
with medallions, emblems of a sun dyed red.

They have no interest in souls or domesticated pets,
only their tithe of carbohydrates
to be crushed in the towering power stacks
that drive their iron machines.
Day and night they spin and grind,
transmuting our old fashioned biosphere
into dry winds and deserts, scattered with
hematite and quartz.

At night I see their discards, the pale
luminosities of lesser creations, tiny animas aglow.
I chase the flames of scuttering goannas
and dream of sooty squirrels, charcoaled fish,
scurrying and floundering.


Our souls are drifting particles,
Ruanna told me,
eternal and magnetic.
They gather at refractive moments
in the timelines of our lives
and draw our memories to follow.

We leave traces of ourselves with others,
with lovers,
but I’m not the one
Ruanna remembers.


In arcades, on upper floors, we wander
through fashion glazed in windows, drifts of
summer cotton, knits for midseason,
the fabrics of a time that once we wore.

At an ATM, I join a queue:
no plastic no pockets no clothes no flesh,
a remembered PIN, a phantom
recalling itself,
disinherited from everything but nostalgia.

At the front of the line I stare
at the keyboard and reminisce—
three one four nine and Ruanna.

an open-cut sequel to when will the mowing be done; what the world will look like when all the water leaves us, short fiction collection, Laura van den Berg, 2009.

broken promises

11 thoughts on “after the mowing is done

  1. It’s after midnight, I can’t sleep and I’m treating myself to your magical words. Maybe now I’ll fall sleep and dream of something worth writing about. Doubt it! Last dream I remember was about a little red-haired girl (me?) whose hair turned black. Try writing a poem about that! 🙂 Nighty night.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, BG. Yeah, I find writing once a week can be difficult and my dreams aren’t much use. Last night was a shuttle docking in deep space with a talking cat and a screen of strange moving symbols (wish I was joking).

      The hair change red to black does remind me of a draft I have lying around:The Fire of Becoming. When we’re young the fire chases us and we flee from it by re-creating ourselves every day, but eventually it catches us anyway and consumes us, changes us completely (aka reaching maturity). After that the fire burns into the future and the roles are reversed, we chase the fire. Anyway, despite not making much sense, that’s what I thought of 🙂 . Good morning?


      • Yep, good morning, Steve. For what it’s worth, happy Earth day! Can’t help hoping we can still turn things around. Quite an interesting dream about the talking cat!

        Here’s my ruminations on my dream. I’ve been wanting a little red-haired grand daughter (very egotistical) but have no grand daughters, let alone w/ red hair. My youngest son is marrying a lovely raven-haired Mexican beauty and I’d had a msg from her that day. So I probably think my little red-haired grand daughter will have black hair? A very superficial interpretation! Yours is much more interesting!

        Liked by 1 person

        • And now it’s another day for one of us–so confusing. I think my writing probably reflects my opinion about where we’re headed. They marched for science and reason here but I’m afraid I can’t see much of it on either side (green or black).

          Moving on to hair, yes makes sense. My kids are half latino/a for some strange reason XD and I’d say all colors are great, don’t know about other planets though. I’m still a bit concerned about the talking cat–it might have been trying to tell me something important.


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