Red and yellow swather
stands wheel-deep in purple knapweed
waiting patiently for its hay day.
Cab and colors
reminiscent of a Route 66 motel
lacking Space Age styling
(the opposite of aerodynamic)
A backward-looking afterthought
a retrofitted concept
stalling out when it became hopelessly handy
and form was forced to follow function.
A waspy outfit,
delicate but deadly,
ready source for rural legend.
Grim Reaper to rodents and snakes
scything low through the cool, dark growth
providing field days for birds and wary ranch dogs
thrilled with the indiscriminate harvest.
Cowboys who consider this
too much farming
are still lulled by the symmetrical, rhythmic
through the tall grass
appreciating the deep seated satisfaction
to stock and store
to make hay while the sun shines
saving some of summer’s essence in a hope chest
to be opened in the attic of a cold dark winter.
by John Reedy