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Monday, June 19, 2006


by Lee Patton

--warns every alarming sign
planted in each front lawn,
metal petals of SecureHomes,

Inc. Disarming, how only brown
arms tend empty yards to provide
the only motion, the only sign

that Beverly Hills bears life.
Brown arms guide the tools
and the whining, snippy machines

that manicure ever-green lawns
in February, tangerine-sweet.
Fruit’s a nuisance, though--

“Pablo,” Mycki wails, “that pulp
on the walkways? Clean, please?
Comprendes? Okay? I’ll be back.”

Sweeping uneaten fruit, does Pablo
recall his predecessors, braceros?
“The arm people,” whose manos never

knew manicures. While Mycki
day-spas her fingernails, Tanya
complains about “illegals--”

thinks they ought to be shipped
to Mexico “in manacles.” Mycki
says nothing, afraid of what

would jungle into her garden
without Pablo’s shears, so...handy.
Her Benz slips plush and silent

home, down the alley, swallowed
by garage. Someday, she’ll visit
her front lawn, she’s sure. Now,

though, Pablo mops up ripe pulp
and Mycki must write that overdue
check to SecureHomes, Inc., which

will plant a squadron of riflemen
front and back if any brute dares
pluck her Eden’s surplus fruits.

Lee Patton's work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, The Massachusetts Review, The California Quarterly, and Hawaii-Pacific Review. Among other literary activities and awards: Finalist, the 2001 Lambda Awards for best novel (Nothing Gold Can Stay), 2006 Colorado Authors League short fiction award, The Borderlands Playwrights Prize in 1993 (The Houseguest) and the 1996 Ashland New Playwrights (Orwell in Orlando).