By mechanics, lanes of yellow vanish
into the bailer’s munching mouth,
while out the other end, like some egg
laid by the machine, out patters a bale
squared tight into a bunch, tied with string,
plopped atop the stubble, one egg, two egg, three.
Listing to one side, the hay wagon
trundles behind the old Ford pick-up,
trailed by farmhands in either lane whose pace
matches the rhythm of the bailer
marching ahead of them in the hot field.
Each egg is plucked up, swung into the wagon,
in staccato rhythm to the bailer, to the diesel,
as the driver of the pick-up pops another bubble,
ten years old, she is, and counting.
Oklahoma City shimmers on the horizon
as they make the turn, gleaming steel
above lanes of yellow, with a thunderhead
rising purple just behind it: hours from now
rain will splatter and then torrent, lightning
pounding like fists onto fields plucked clean.
Originally published in This Land: Fall 2016