“Bailing Hay by Headlight” by Sheryl Monks

It is 10:30 pm when the low growl of a combine
machine bearing headlights
sweeps through the field next door,
tall grasses long gone to seed
since the neighbor’s boyfriend
moved out and took his horses
to graze upon new pastures.
My husband and I are sitting together
reading, a fragile urgency in his need
for nearness. Why now?
I wonder if he knows I am but a hull before him.
I am swaying in the shadows of our living room,
reading poetry and recalling the radiance
of sunlight that early imbued my supple self,
run to seed now, low! but once. Once.

Perhaps the livestock don’t care,
can’t complain if they do.
Unless their protest is in the subtle rebellion
of their milk and meat.
A woman my age surely knows this is true.

Sheryl Monks is the Writer-in-Residence at Salem College and founding editor of Change Seven Magazine. Her work has appeared in The Greensboro Review, storySouth, Night Train, Revolution John, RE:AL, Backwards City Review, Surreal South, Midwestern Gothic, Black and Grey Magazine, Fried Chicken and Coffee, Southern Gothic online, the Writer’s Chronicle, and elsewhere. Her collection of stories, All the Girls in France, was a finalist for the 2013 Hudson Prize, sponsored by Black Lawrence Press.

Image: “Morge Depot” by Bobbi Le’ Rae Valentin

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