Friday, June 12, 2015

short friction

Seven Foot Sickle Bar Mower

Lifeless on an idle patch of Wear farm, swallowed
by time marked in jimson and honey vine milkweed
budging, a thing of the past to the eyes of a city boy, worse
a northerner, shoeless and shirtless, evenly tanned but

for pale omegas of a low tide flat top wreathing my ears
white shading to blue at the temples, prayerful snakes
slept late, coiled around clutches of my worst nightmare. 

Oil can like the oil can that tormented the Tin Man
in hand, brandished jail break file in the other, grandpa circled
the scorpion, striking at the lethal tail, silvering edges
of serrated eye teeth, eyes shadowed by the brim of the pith

helmet he wore back in his C.C.C. days, liquoring up
bushings gone dry in the heat while I watched from the open
palm of the Ford NAA Jubilee tractor seat, bearing

witness to the honing of blades destined to work
at cross purposes against the high grass bearding
the branch, touching but not touching, my father’s face
swimming naked in the quarry of grandpa in profile 

angled low above the linkage mechanism, steel working
against steel, shadow working against light, my hand rolling
fine red clay dust into snakes against my smooth cheek.  

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