you don't have to teach me
once two hands are on,
and my fingers close around
the scuffed, oil honed snath
into angled reaping lance
i am gone, can't hear you anyway
in the morning we are quiet as harvest begins
gruff greetings as each arrives
animals provisioned, cow milked
get ready for a long day now
that the sunrise has boiled over
from all that madness
into a bend of pure blue,
and the dew has all returned to heaven.
now even the birds have begun
attending to everyday chores.
check your blade for sharp up against the sun
any dull bit, too wide to splice light,
will glint and sparkle and needs attending.
your back stays straight, arms as well
arc your torso a stiff hip twist
follow the elliptic side to side
with every full swing
as if your pelvis were the earth.
i go in and out of believing in human past lives,
sometimes ancient antiquity
is tirelessly thronging with my people,
my blood kinned to so many of history's helices,
that i rest confidently cradled
in the long learning journey i ride.
the rest of the time it is obvious
that mostly i have been dirt, tree limbs, stones.
and that is that, beautifully.
until i pick up a scythe. or a sickle.
and then god plucks me,
the ground cracks and swallows me
and with instantaneous precision
drops me directly onto a sweat painted field
into the metered beat of swinging tools
the whole farm full out to help.
metal flying close to the ground
without knocking rocks
grain sundered into swaths
braced to be banded
and stacked in stooks.
i am content here
as regular as breathing
as familiar as the smell of my bed
reaping by hand
the wedded cells of sky earth and water
united in biological matrimony
a million times over
in each golden stalk, each budded head of wheat
that sways in the rosy acreage
as one breathing thing
which we have come to bow, fell, level
and lay down to dry
for a snowy night's worth of bread.