Baling Hay

Neca Stoller

Scythed down how flat the pasture is:
Olive curing rows of grass fade and silver.
Behind drumming machinery,
       like a wagon train,
            fresh bales circle the field.
Tall exhaust stacks - rusted, split -
                                 leak smoke.
Their cryptic

signals puff,
       then drown in the humid air.

The way the smut and dust paints
       chin, cheeks and corded arms.
He looks as though a palette
       of charcoal and gray spilled,
            tracing its idea of Guernica.
Carved with rivulets of sweat,
       eyes     noses    fingers
            juxtapose at acute angles.

Meanwhile, the ripening hay.....
       all over a fragrant smell prevails
Slowly an iced mason jar,
            black cold tea thick with sugar,
       cracks the encrusted grime.
His mouth, here and there, appears.

Bleached sky- in every place the sun.
The only shade, a bulky hay baler
       dragging its round shadow
Like a mace, the spectral spikes again
       reap his head, groin and dead blue grass.

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The 2River View, 2_1 (Fall 1997)