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Beth Oast Williams

It seems to me that landscape companies are beginning their work too early in the morning. This poem began one day when I woke up at 7:30 am to the sound of an army of leaf blowers. Our neighborhoods are loud with hired machines that try to change the way leaves fall, the way weeds grow. It's no longer gardeners working in yards for the pleasure of getting their hands dirty. The title hints at how I long to escape this noise and to wake up naturally to storm or sunrise and enjoy that spiritual connection.

Beth Williams reads Scaping


I wake to the storm

of leaf blowers

as if the wind

is not breath enough.

I want to hear

God's exhale against

my windows, want

to shudder at the urgency

of shingles falling

off the roof. I want to wake

with the scrape of holy

hands along the siding

of my house. I crave

the startle of God

shining a light in my face,

a power higher

than a man waving

a loud machine,

whacking at weeds.

Beth Oast Williams’s poetry has appeared in West Texas Literary Review, Wisconsin Review, Glass Mountain, GASHER Journal, Poetry South, Fjords Review, and Rattle's Poets Respond, among others. Her poems have been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Her first chapbook, Riding Horses in the Harbor, was published in 2020.

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