Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Farmer's Right Hand
(For Rodney)

by Nicole Yurcaba

The farmer's contagious Monday anxiety
seeps through the John Deere tractor cab's silage-scented atmosphere
incinerating his hired hand, who, in quiet faithfulness, rides beside him.

There is never enough time.

A muscle-building, mechanically-inclining
year-and-a-half of working, learning, adapting beside him--
shoveling feedlot feed bunks, tall-stacking square bales in hay barns,
stretching and tacking barbed wire across and into locust posts--
has implicitly taught her
that when he wants a task done,
the farmer will either bear the task's cross himself
or hand her an unlined three-by-five--
scrawled with black ballpoint;
pulled gentlemanly from his left shirt pocket--
dictating her mucked, mired, muddied,
manure-splattered fate.

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