Memory of Kuhre

(killed by a tractor, August, 1970)

hot days
the farm does not
move
far off
a cowbell far off
his tractor sound
caught in trees
& free again

i am there unsurprised
by my skinny arms
raking
in a field
i think maybe it will rain

but the clouds

move slowly they
are in another country
at dusk
the cows move back
into the field
like clouds
they dream themselves
walking shaking
flies from their sleep

mornings
the woman who talks
to the hens
throwing seeds &

it is me
listening
deep into the
tractor’s
ponderous heart
for a spark
pulling the flywheel

i think
(it starts
up in such a rage)
how can the old man
hanging crutches
on the gearshift
climbing slowly
up its side
not be shaken
down

but each day

Kuhre
just lurches
off
into the tractor’s
noise &

oh
it is such
a great slow
place the cows moving back
the clouds far
as continents
his tractor
circling
all my afternoons
& i am perhaps
thinking
his eye is gone

at supper
the woman crazy
with questions
i am thinking it
still

Kuhre sits
silent
& one-eyed
as his old
barn
& he never answers
he never

riding
out past cows
dreaming him
riding or it could be Kuhre’s
strange shut
face
going by me
as i rake

until i think
part of him knows
something
it is night
or down
in a dim
green silo corn raining
all around
i rise slowly
upward
toward the light

& the morning
rises

it will be a
hot day
far off
the tractor sound
continues & the clouds
just continue

& it is me
watching
the woman among
the white
shrieking
of the hens throwing seeds
talking to them all

-Wesley McNair