Prairie Poetry   
  Cutting Wheat

Young and between jobs, they hired on
with a custom crew for the wheat run,
working their way up the plains

from first light to sundown, north Texas
to Manitoba, the rested earth ripened
for harvest.  Riding red-steel combines

bright as fire in the prairie sun, they cut
wide rows quickly through fields grown
fat with grain, trimming stalks to hard

stubble, threshing out small bullets
of seed to fill silos ready for market.
Their work done, they headed home

to find "real" jobs, knowing the wheat
would always outlast their youth.
Half their lives later, talk among them

turns again to that long-distant season
when they crossed the heart of the plains
in brigades of metal, cutting the wheat

and sharing a bounty they still can claim.

  Garland Strother
  Copyright © 2007 Garland Strother
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