Prairie Poetry   
  Town Boy

It is July, hot, and only grunts and heavy breathing move the air.
I am sixteen, fit, but not yet filled out and still am called "Kid"
by Shoot and Harley who walk along side the wooden hay wagon
lifting with long handle forks the fresh cut hay up to me faster
than I can spread it, stack it properly. I am beat but keep moving
knowing I will catch hell from the boss who drives the tractor
pulling the wagon alongside the raked hay that Shoot and Harley
hoist up to me faster than I can handle it. God, let it be done!

It is 1956, North Dakota, Red River Valley, Trail County;
I am a town boy, hired for the season at five bucks a day.
I am shirtless, sweaty and prickly, hay chaff and exhaustion
are slowly driving me mad, but I keep moving. My Dad did this,
and thousands like him. And I can do it too. Or so I tell myself.
And yes, when Shoot and Harley can no longer lift and push
up the hay any farther and I have caught their lifts and pushes
and have made a nice high mound, squared and tight, it is over.
The wagon is loaded. But then my eyes stray beyond to the edge
of the hay field where I count four, five, six more wagons waiting,
waiting to be loaded. And it is only ten o'clock in the morning.

  J.D. Heskin
  Copyright © 2008 J.D. Heskin
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