THE WHEEL BRACE
Both men spat red dirt, the tractors’ engines echoing off cypress
windbreaks smudged silver with heat – gears, shafts and star-wheels
circling raw motion into windrows. Dust steamed off mown grass,
fields stripped back with lizards and mice darting beneath kestrels
locked to the sky. Distant thunder drummed its black murderous
roll – diesel plumes floating thick above the spot where the drivers
stopped, disembarked and went for each other beneath the ulcerous
sky. Next morning a constable was called. At the stables mourners
stared into red earth – the blue sky drilled clean with a white sun.
Out in the field, a tractor and baler ran jettisoning bales lashed taut
with twine, the tractor simply swerving over ground where the iron
bar had been found, ruby wet with dew, where the men had fought.