Farm Poem #19

The drive shaft shears,
Marvelous explosion,
Hollow steel torn twain,
Sharding in all directions,

And up on the tractor
I’ve just enough presence
To duck and cover,
Throwing off the lever

While the twisted metal,
Barely slowing,
Slaps, beating itself dead
Like a fish at the bottom of a boat.

Silly, trembling hands—
How would you have protected me?
The steel speaks with conviction,
Its mouth a jagged sneer.

I’m attentive, then,
When an hour later,
The parts manager laughs
And says, “I see your problem!”

But actually seems to see little,
Seems to hear little,
Country radio in the background,
Eyes scrolling the computer screen,

Quoting sixteen hundred dollars
With practiced indifference
Before I point out the correct part:
Sixty four bucks.

So what? So what?
Pushing the mirrored doors,
Why do I wish to speak like
Flying steel, bright and gleaming,

Clear as the light of death?
Why do I seek my
Reflection in the leaden
Eyes of a stranger,

Clapping trembling hands to my head,
Not in defense, or disbelief,
But to contain the joy, unbidden,
Certain to spring forth?

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