Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 54
worm moon, 2024

Featured artwork, Capitol Reef Wash, by Kathleen Frank

new works

Thad DeVassie

Neighborhood Politics

Every two years, like clockwork, people come knocking on our door asking if they can borrow our donkey. They say they want him for a parade. Other times it is to graze among their yard signs. It took me a while to figure out they weren’t genuinely interested in our donkey, or learning how to become responsible donkey parents themselves. It was about midterm elections and party affiliation. The wife says we’re independent, and that our donkey is independent, too. I want to say, no, he’s totally dependent, but think better of it. She mentions his penchant for Law & Order, his habit of smoking out back with the foxes. How a donkey-on-loan program will disrupt his routine. People think we are lying. Why would we lie about a TV-watching, cigar-smoking donkey? Why wouldn’t we come up with more believable lies? The ones who don’t like donkeys, or at least our donkey, or maybe just us, try to get an ordinance to ban donkeys in the neighborhood. It has become a vicious cycle.


Each morning while walking to his workshop, a giant man scoops up a handful of orphans outside the orphanage gates and places three children in his shirt breast pocket, and five more in the hidden chest pocket of his blazer. This way their collective hearts hear-feel in unison. At work he hangs up his blazer before stringing his apron and heading to the engine lathe. The orphans are gently spilled from his pockets and hands like dice, each wishing for good fortune that remains unfound. They mill through his wood shavings, nibble on things unidentifiable. This lasts until the orphans no longer fit in the giant man’s oversized hands and pockets. In time, they avoid the gate. He sews shut all his pockets close to his chest, sealing off a past reality as a survival tactic. He leaves miniature, hand-carved statuettes of each child at the gate, never knowing if their wooden hearts are swelling from the rain or something else.

Thad DeVassie is a writer and artist/painter who creates from the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of three chapbooks, most recently THIS SIDE OF UTOPIA (Cervena Barva Press, 2023). He was awarded the James Tate Poetry Prize for SPLENDID IRRATIONALITIES in 2020. Find more of his written and painted work at www.thaddevassie.com.