Russet clouds of harvest dust
run low in the gully,
settle in the sand pits,
settle on a tongue and choke
the throats of a damp fall.
And there, below the drying towers,
propane men wink into ledgers,
as the combines churn on –
the grains still plump –
stalk still green at the soils,
saturated with expense incurred
of weathers and toils.
And down by the sloughs,
down where rains gathered and stalled,
a yield succumbs to rot and tight winters.
And there, on the ridges, beneath a ringed moon,
those men with parched gambling hands
tally a season not by what twists in the auger,
but by that which lies threshed, mildewed
in the muds of wet Autumn.