Swirling rows of budding wheat, and the mist settles upward:
a lone tractor paves patterns in the land, air taupe and hazy.
Tractor boy drives with poetic calm, raking hay as if in meter.
Bandana trailing from a pocket, he steers, wrist
flung over a hoopy wheel. Barn swallows in jittering waves
carve out figure eights in his wake. Years pass away
and now his daughter mows neighbors’ teeming yards.
In shorts cut at the knees, hat turned back, solitary
as a monk furrowing the labyrinth, she patterns her paces
to the hum of a Walkman, looping beneath the roar.
When the engine stalls to silence, the rip-cord converted
to prayer wheel turns over, catches in her curses.
She tries to shake the image from her mind: a neighbor
caught in his prairie fire, controlled burn become immolation.
When the engine fires up, she traces again the contours
of the land, churning small town grass into lumpy rows,
staining high tops green. She stops to listen as augur birds
chatter idly overhead, turning, engine-like, into themselves.
Alexa Garvoille is an educator and creative writing pedagogy scholar. Her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Lavender Review, and NCTE’s English Journal. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Virginia Tech.