When I first asked the man five doors down,
he seemed reluctant, as though he wondered
would I bring it back and, if I did, would it ever be
the same. I bit my lip, promised to look after it
and wheeled it proudly away. There is something
about men and cylinder mowers, the whirr of the blades
gives first a feeling of calm, and then of control,
like walking a really obedient dog. As I passed,
I hailed this neighbour and that, careful not to draw
undue attention to the mower, but still that quiet
transaction passed between us. When I got home
I introduced it proudly to my wife who looked at me
nonplussed, very aware of the recent cost of paving
our back lawn but, conscious of the omerta that comes
bundled with marriage vows, she said nothing and I sat
it on the patio beside me, while I read and sipped wine,
only occasionally shared titbits, aware that
the slightest loosening of discipline can be disastrous.
I kept it three days, just enough to make him anxious
but not enough to make him call. Made sure it was Saturday
morning when I retraced my steps, neighbours revelling
in the bonding and closure, and, as he examined it
for bumps and scratches, I could swear I saw it smile.
Maurice Devitt was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection Competition in 2016. He won the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015, he has been placed or shortlisted in many other competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition.