Issue 88, Summer 1983
Although the field lay cut in swaths.
Grass at the edge survived the crop:
Stiff stems with lateral blades of leaf.
Dense cattail flower-spikes at the top.
If there was breeze and open sky.
We raked each swath into a row;
If not, we took the hay to dry
To the barn’s golden-showering mow.
The hay forked from our pick-up truck
Was thatched resilience where it fell.
And I took pleasure in the thought
The fresh hay’s name was mine as well.
Work was a soothing, rhythmic ache;
Hay stuck where skin or clothes were damp.
At length, the truck would rock and shake
Its last stack up the barn’s wood ramp.
Pumping a handpump’s iron arm,
I washed myself as best I could.
Then watched the acres of the farm
Draw lengthening shadows from the wood
Across the grass, which seemed a thing
In which the lonely and concealed
Had risen from its sorrowing
And fruitfully possessed the field.