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Ghosts In My Hayfield

by Aaron Brauer
In the coolness of morning I stand at the edge of the hayfield.
The locusts' siren is more urgent from the late summer oaks,
and the grass, in full August parch, seems brittle
as the last beads of dew vaporize in tiny cyclonic zephyrs.

Added to the mixture of my own past and present
is the history of my hands upon this soil,
but within the harmony of this rain thirsty meadow
I hear whispers, the soft voices of forgotten faces.

Do I stand atop this stack of hay,
taking in all that's familiar within my hazy river valley?
Is this wagon wobbling slowly toward some barn?
Did I pick these wild cherries as the wagon passed under the tree?

Within this tranquil wandering a realization emerges.
The sweat from others will fall here,
and on some distant summer morning
my voice may transcend the quiet
of another man's thoughts.

May he recognize the necessity of this place,
the toil of rural generations
put up reverently in second story lofts,
fed out in long rows to impatient cattle
on a snowy, winter hillside.

May he experience the pleasure
of this elegant field of grass;
its morning dew and lofty sycamores,
and the drowsy rhythm of a sun-scorched tractor.

May he appreciate the sweetness
of freshly mowed clover;
earth-rinsed breezes announcing rain,
midday heat, wavy and thick,
and the tired contentment of bales stacked neatly in a barn.

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