Poem of the Week: Scott Thomas Outlar – ‘Maple Syrup Sex Appeal’

3rd Place
Stu Buck – ‘Iawn’

I remember him now and then
When I’m feeling brave enough to recall my childhood
Mr. Strathclyde
He was a welcome break from the ceaseless banality of the suburbs
I’d see him every Saturday morning on my way to work
Damp panatela clamped between his gums
Stained string vest and pyjama bottoms
Smirking like he’d just told a racist joke that no one had heard
‘Morning sport’ he’d yell at me over the thrum and whine of his lawnmower
I hated sport
But I liked him
‘Morning Mr. Strathclyde’
His lawn was immaculate
Set square perfection
He’d tend that lawn until they took him away he used to say
I never saw Mrs. Strathclyde, although I knew she was lame
Sometimes you’d see the curtains twitch in the bedroom upstairs

One Saturday I was walking to work when I noticed a weed growing in the centre of the lawn
Right in the centre, defiling it
The next week there were more weeds
The grass was getting longer
Clover and moss burst through the pristine layer of grass
A crisp packet lounged in the corner, its garish maw gaping obscenely
After that my dad lost his job and we moved to the other side of town
I never saw Mr. Strathclyde’s lawn ever again

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