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found poem: horses


DichondraMy friend Jane lives 1200 miles from here, in the over-cultivated desert of Los Angeles, not far from my childhood home. Her garden is constantly evolving in a low-maintenance and drought-tolerant direction and this past summer she replaced a grassy area with clumps of Dymondia, which is a no-mow groundcover well-suited to L.A. but, much as I might admire it, a poor candidate for the soggy Northwest. When I talked with her this morning, she told me that her Dymondia was, annoyingly, being invaded by Dichondra.

The moment she said Dichondra, I recalled the house at the corner near where I grew up. It was small and tidy and mostly unremarkable except for its Dichondra lawn. An unblemished expanse of green, it was a hands-and-knees labor of love for the owners, who were “older” and stern and unforgiving of untethered dogs and children on bicycles who might want to shortcut across their yard. When I mentioned it to Jane, she told me that her street, in another neighborhood, also had a corner house that was maintained by fierce Dichondra fanatics.

I remember my mother being both envious and disparaging of the neighbors and their immaculate Dichondra, though no less agitated when dogs or children trespassed on the ivy in our front yard. She would crank open the kitchen window and shout, “Scram!” or “Get your dog out of the ivy!” as I hunkered down, hoping no one would see me and associate me with such a loud and embarrassing mother.
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