The only thing here in the traps was a very crisp frog. There's a bit of a breeze. Only some of the grass has grown, only some of it needs to be mowed. The rest is fried—if it isn't dead it might not grow again this year. So there's one upside to the heat, to the lack of rain: less mowing. If I can stick out the balm, I can spend my time here the next two days doing more of this, and maybe a little reading...
The rest of the story...
But then a second Yoakum brother paid a visit. This was Junior, the youngest, veteran of the Navy, pulling up the drive in an all-terrain buggy with his wife Ginger in the passenger seat and two hunting dogs in tow.
I had never met Jr before. He lives not far away. We got to talking. He had some questions for me. He wanted to know about the house. Does it have running water? Yes, I said, but the toilet is not currently hooked up. Is there any air conditioning, a window unit? asked Ginger. Negative on that. Just a box fan, I said.
Jr remarked on the clearing I’ve been working on these last few years. He even noted how the shed had been cleaned up, part of it anyway. He had memories of Willy Lee, who lived in this house in the middle of the last century, who farmed this land. Jr identified that big hulk of rusting metal in the pasture near the barn as a wheat combine. A thresher. My mom’s dad was a wheat farmer, he would have known that hunk of rust was a thresher. On a recent visit, my uncle Vernon had alerted me to an article outlining the history of my grandfather's threshing circle in the Okawville Times. I wondered about the viability of growing wheat on this rocky terrain but I guess old Willy Lee had it figured out well enough...
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Entire poem this way...
Imagine the sound of that comet,
Its tail a contrail split in two,
Dust and fried ice, the Sun
Seething with impotence
As the comet passed it by,
Somehow staying together.
Then I saw it the way I saw it,
Wicked blue morning,
Cows in the field with
Better eyes than me
But there on the horizon
Upside down, breeching, glowing with
An hour before dawn...
I'm out at Farm. Yeah, I know, surprise, surprise. Small green bugs—gnats, aphids—swarm the lightbulb overhead. They cling, somehow, upside down to the ceiling, making a marina out of faux-wood paneling.
It's finally dark out. June bugs fling themselves against the front door. Something dots the back of my neck, I try to chase it away. Today, June 14th, Flag Day. I'm here to mow, an insane endeavor depending so much on a car, a push mower, gasoline, and this forty-year-old body. Wall sounds, probably the pack rat. My approach to this old farm house, earlier today, descending the gravel road, sent two groundhogs scurrying across the front yard I would soon get to clipping. They disappeared to somewhere, probably into that hole slipping under the front of the house, just west of the stoop...
The essay continues...