Before it happens
the engines of slow tractors
must be oiled like stallions.
Cows must be milked dry as dowagers,
turned out to pasture with sheep and boys,
the dogs will watch over them all.
Pigs, chickens and hired hands must be fed.
My daughter must be coaxed to use her best Spanish
so the men understand how the day will go.
When it’s done they will move on south
pulled along by the magnetic Harvest Moon.
I have come to envy these men. Their lives are
hardscrabble yes, but secure in the knowledge
of what is expected, of the how the day will go,
secure in the knowledge the moon will rise again.
Sometimes I am ashamed of my childish belief
in the romance of the itinerant life.
But then I listen to the men laugh and talk
as we leave the fields at the end of a day
and I wonder how we came to need anything more.