Conor Sweetman

Bathed in Swaths of Green

Conor Sweetman
Bathed in Swaths of Green

I’ve never minded the mowing of lawns on Sunday

afternoons in a well worn pair of pants,
line after line – this week vertical, the next opposite –
a summer checkered board of wandering
thoughts going in circles and yellow dandelion
smudges on boots, a beer in hand after to kneel at the green

lawn like the altar of Ordinary Time bathed in swaths of green
felt banners. From a plexiglass pulpit this Sunday
the pastor told the story of Daniel in the lion’s
den and I dozed off dreaming of their hungry pants
and dripping teeth waiting to tear at the boy’s lack of wandering
curiosity and his fleshy figure at the opposite

end of the cave. I have a sideways, opposite,
uneasy sort of feeling when my wife elbows me and my green
eyes search the sanctuary, wandering
from face to face to face of faithful Sunday
people in their polyester dresses, off-the-rack jackets, pressed pants,
toothy smiles then down to my own laces yellowed by dandelions.

I’ve always thought dandelions
were the loveliest of weeds, like the opposite
of those thistles piercing my pants
when I sit in the green
lawn to enjoy the afternoon sun. Days
spent mowing means my mind can wander

to whatever my mind will wander
to. I twist off the heads of dandelions
trying to remember what the pastor said Sunday and,
only able to remember the opposite
of whatever he said, I scratch at the green
stains on my pants

remembering how I sang As the Deer Pants
for Water in the crowded congregation and wandered
forward to the altar arrayed in greenery –
tulips, daisies, a thorny crown and no dandelions –
to take the bread and wine then walk back to the opposite
end of the room where I sit every Sunday.

In pants worn well with life, my dandelion
soul wanders in horizontal patterns opposite
of the green tracks from last Sunday.

By Tommy Welty
Pastor & Poet

Photograph by Marc Phun