How hopeful and delicate
the new blades were
just inches up from the ground.

I hated the twenty miles
to work every morning,
except for the fields
in May—row beyond row:
green script on pages of dirt.

All those years—sun in the rearview
and eight hours of students,
passes, and bells dead ahead.

Now gates have closed,
combines have lorded their blades
over the fields, and black birds at dusk
cut the air like thrown knives.

I’d give my hair and hold my tongue
for those May mornings when I was young
and corn’s short season had just begun.