by Kimberly Beer

When summer finally
steals July breathless
and the shade holds
every living being hostage,
it will be the time for
farmers to go to the field
and make hay.

First comes the cutting.
The severing of the grass
from its mother earth.
This parting makes
the sweetest perfume
that hangs about
the field like a
new lover over
morning coffee.

Then there is the raking.
The tossing and spinning
of the shorn grass
with the hot air.
When it’s done,
you can stand
knee deep
in fluffy rows of
clover,
lespedeza,
timothy,
orchard grass,
and fescue.

The baler follows,
swallowing the windrows
one deep row
after the next
until it becomes
too full and stops to
bind and wrap,
to release the bale
back onto the
freshly swept
carpet of green.

Stacked in rows,
aged to gold
the bales will wait,
patiently,
quietly, until
winter’s eventuality
removes the last
of autumn’s warmth
and the deepest of snow
paints the world white.
Then it will be time
for the farmer to break
open the bales, to
release to the cows
a precious taste of the
summer sun’s love.