All afternoon his tractor pulls a flat wagon
with bales to the barn, then back to the waiting
chopped field. It trails a feather of smoke.
Down the block we bend with the season:
shoes to polish for a big game,
storm windows to batten or patch.
And how like a field is the whole sky now
that the maples have shed their leaves, too.
It makes us believers—stationed in groups,
leaning on rakes, looking into space. We rub blisters
over billows of leaf smoke. Or stand alone,
bagging gold for the cold days to come.
David Baker's next book, Midwest Eclogue, is forthcoming this fall from W. W. Norton. "Neighbors in October" is reprinted from The Truth about Small Towns, University of Arkansas Press, 1998.
Source: The Truth about Small Towns
(University of Arkansas Press, 1998)