Social Justice Poetry

Missing in Action | A Social Justice Poem by Donal Mahoney

Odd fellow who does odd jobs
in the neighborhood
four seasons of the year
has disappeared in high summer
and his customers are nervous.

The grass is getting high
and the wives of old-timers
are upset because they
want their lawns as smooth
as greens on a golf course

and edged to perfection.
With the odd fellow a no-show
they now want their husbands
to find someone else to mow
or get out there themselves

despite the boiling heat
but their husbands sip drinks
in cool parlors and say
the odd fellow will turn up
in his old truck any day

and drag out his mower
and make everything nice.
He may not be accurate
with his edger because he
has the shakes and leaves

clippings on the lawn
that rust in the sun but
he’s had the shakes since
he got back from Vietnam,
thanks to Monsanto

and Dow’s Agent Orange.
His customers have said
he’ll be their odd fellow
the rest of his life unless
the rest has ended now.

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