Mowing at 5 AM

By Emily Strauss

fire on the ridge line burned all night
the fields smell like smoke at dawn,
the plume blown east glows red black
hangs over the valley a dark curtain

slowly the man drives his tractor
blazing lights up and down, drawing
lines in the alfalfa, the hay must be cut
today, slowly he drives up and down

cattle need feed all winter, the slopes
will blacken under the snow, burnt trees
cooling, sodden stumps will appear
by spring out of the dirty snow banks

he drives back and forth, the sky lighter
now he douses the headlights, mows
by feel back and forth slowly, fire crawls
over the ridge, a long morning he mows.

 

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 400 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. She is a Best of the Net and twice a Pushcart nominee. The natural world of the American West is generally her framework; she also considers the narratives of people and places around her. She is a retired teacher living in Oregon.

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