Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Andrew Hubbard


When I was little I laid my peas
In a row on my plate
And my mother cried.
I don’t know why,
I wasn’t making a mess.


I laid the green beans
Two side-by-side
And then two on top of them
Crosswise. It was a row
That went up and down
Instead of sideways.

Now I’m thirty.
The years line up most satisfactorily
And thirty is an exceptional number–
Divisible by one, two, three,
Five, six, ten, and fifteen.
Quite an accomplishment!

I dread thirty-one, it’s hopeless,
But thirty-three has a lot going for it,
And sometimes you just have to get through something
To get to something better.
My mother says that.

I have chores. The main one
Is every morning I check the clocks
On the microwaves, the cars, the phones,
The clock-radios, the TV’s,
The computers, the range, and the oven
To make sure they all say the same time.
If they didn’t, it would
Break the row of minutes
And I don’t think I could stand it.

There are eighteen clocks in all
And you’d think with quartz movements
And micro-processors they could stay together
But they can’t, I’m always
Moving some up or back a minute.

I’ll bet you think I freak
When the power goes off, but no:
I’ve got an Armitron wristwatch
Guaranteed accurate within one second in three years.
I reset everything from that.
I’m proud, and my mother thanks me.

I’m glad we live in Kansas.
It has an “A” one letter in
From each end, for balance.
There are thirteen states
With two “A’s” in their name
But only Kansas is symmetrical.

“A” is my favorite letter,
First in a row of twenty-six,
And very attractive, although
For sheer beauty the clear winner…
Is “H” with its row of two classic uprights
And a strong crossbar to keep them in line.

(“V” and “X” clash with themselves,
And “Z” is just weird.)

My favorite thing to do is in April
I watch the farmers plant rows of corn
Straight as a row should be
And all the way to the horizon.

In July I spend whole days
Walking down a row of corn
And counting the stalks.

Then I’m so happy
I forget that I’m happy
And I feel like I could
Just walk an endless row
In the hot sun





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