The gray-green husks are opening. The wasps
and spiders build up high.
The vulture steps in from the field adjacent
and waddles down the row, first to claim
the rabbit clipped by the mower.
Dust mates with heat and spins at the least movement.
It’s lonely for him but he doesn’t know it.
Crouched atop his tractor,
he wheels out of a corridor of trees,
wobbling on huge, flat-sided clods, and turns
to re-enter, stripping gears,
engaging the mower’s blades against the silence.
The stand is deep enough to have a heart
with nothing human in it,
but a heart, webbed and humming and afraid.
At twilight, when he grinds through on his engine,
buck, doe, and fawn
unfold their knees and disappear like birds.
And I, as yet unimportant, am unseen,
under the drooping boughs he has to lift,
slowing and downshifting, his T-shirt pocked
with snags, his smooth chest bleeding.
A branch recoils and whips across his back.
Away from that, from leaves and mantises
that prickle his arrns and face,
out in the open evening, he feels taller-
twenty years old, determined to remember
heat, dust, and sound,
but not that I was here, that he was lonely.
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