How To Mow A Lawn

By Anthony Buccino

Writing My Way Home Intensive Writing Weekend



“There’s an art to mowing the giant lawn

of ours,” my father said when I was ten.

We had moved here in October

and the new spring exposed

the six-thousand square feet of side lot

grass growing in varying shades of green.

Dad read the Lawn Boy manual

and its helpful hints on how to mow.

He read the manual so he could show me

what he’d read when he turned

the vibrating rail to my eager young hands.



The first cut, you take straight and slow

it’s inhaling a lot of grass, so go easy

and it won’t jam up the blade or stall.

When you turn to take your second pass,

line up with long grass under one half

of this Lawn Boy chassis

and you can move along quite well.

Turn and repeat until you run out of gas.

Soho pigeon loft, Carpenter Street, Belleville NJ, © A Buccino


The power Lawn Boy carried a clip catcher

and with our long lawn, just one pass

was all it took to need emptying.

That stop, detach, empty, re-attach

slowed things down a lot.

And it wasn’t long into the first hour

on that first day on that new lawn

in the new home on Carpenter Street,

well, it wasn’t long before the thrill

of using the power mower gave over to boredom.

Just two more hours with that little mower

and I could join my friends and have some fun.



Thirteen years later, I’d mow Mom’s grass

then haul the mower to my own house

cut and repeat through the weekends.

Every few years for the next ten

one of us was getting a new mower

that I could haul back and forth.

As I mowed into a cathartic mood

when the intensity of the row of grass ahead,

that turn, that familiar root, that rock

and the endless vibration on my hands

that still shook long after I’d finished,

in that roaring quiet I heard my Dad

quoting from the manual, how to cut on a hill,

and each week when you mow this grass

you should go at right angle to the week before.



Now, with only one lawn, these crippled hands

can barely hold the pen as I write

a check to the landscaper.

By Anthony Buccino


Read more:

Summer Tales

Mow, mow, mow your lawn forever and a day

Summer Lawn Labors Lightened