NOTICE: WEED AND GRASS REMOVAL: All properties within the City of Wilmington must be maintained in accordance with Chapter 1729 of the City of Wilmington Codified Ordinances which prohibits grass and weed growth in excess of ten inches (10”) in height. Notice is hereby given that weeds, grass or plant growth is in excess of ten inches (10”) in height and must be cut within five (5) days. If the property owner fails to comply with this order, the City shall cause the weeds or grass to be cut at the owner’s expense, and the City will place a lien on the property for the amount in accordance with O.R.C. 731.54. Removal of this placard before the property owner complies with Chapter 1729 shall constitute a violation of this section and subject the owner(s), lessee(s), tenant or occupant having charge or lots of land to a fine of $100 . . .
Foxgloves, poppies, shasta wild daisies,
Perennial purple cone flowers . . .
I planted the seeds, transplanted pellets
To cover bald patches on my front lawn
Allotting a section of turf for taller grasses and flowers
Like that old lady in Terre Haute, Indiana
Who lived by the railroad tracks
Whose house I’d pass going to Big Lots
Within whose sparse grass
Wildflowers popped up like pun
In defiance of the asphalt
And rattling doom of passing trains
I sprinkled boxes of perennial wildflower seeds
Like Hansel and Gretel dropping bread crumbs
Though loons, cardinals, and crows devoured them
Yet in some places something grew
Stranger than science fiction
Dark Martian green to failed magic yellow
Other herbage succumbed to summer heat
Pink clover dried to teddy bear brown
The hum of bees ceasing above the scraggly
That’s when I found the yellow paper sign:
NOTICE: WEED AND GRASS REMOVAL . . .
Tacked on a wooden pole, driven into my pebbly soil
Like a stake through a vampire’s heart
I peer out the window at my neighbors
One wheeling home in his red Taurus
Another splashing her son in a blue kiddie pool
And wonder who turned me in
Forced me into the convict’s striped uniform
As Violator of City Ordinances
I who waited so patiently, so meekly
For my garden to grow . . .
Now I’ve mowed that 10 X 30 rectangle of lawn
Bent over and taken it under the sun
Destroyed the natural music of silence
With belligerent machinery
Terrifying earthworms . . .
And all I see are bald spots now