The Lament of the Retired Farmer’s Wife

“He’s crazy,” I say.
“Just look at him and that
Damn John Deere.
From April to November
Ridin’ that thing makin’ the yard
Bigger and bigger.
What for?
Who needs a lawn down to the highway
Out to the cornfield?

“We’ve got the money,” I say, “Let’s go.
Get away from blue jeans, flannel shirts, and
Clodhopper boots.
See something other than
Fields of corn, soybeans,
Stinky pigs and Holstein cows.

But he says nothing,
Climbs on that damn
John Deere and mows the lawn
Wider and wider
Down to the road
Encroaching on the wetlands
Whistling that tuneless noise
Under his breath.
“Say something,” I snap.
He scowls, “What’s for dinner?”

—Frankie Mengeling, Oshkosh