A Most Harmless Hour

The men are out working the fields, rolling hay into tight spirals,
then leaving them to harvest another day.

They dot the landscape like butterscotch pinwheels
I trace on the window with my finger

before walking outside to ornament my eyes
with the picturesque view.

The tractor slows into its cave under an awning. My husband
dismounts, wiping his forehead against the sweaty bare skin

of his arm. A smearing, a full bottle of water
drunk down, his body all heat.

Labor’s satisfaction starving the parts of him more animal—
less philosophic inquiry or need to muse over

an injury. The god-sent sweet exhaustion
that overcomes a soul when all its muscles have been used.

This is a most harmless hour—the tractor holding his ribcage
like a man steadying a woman worn from giving birth.

Last updated November 14, 2022