An hour’s journey ended, the van in which we sat
pulled away from gravel and local roads, to crawl
that last meter and stop. Tools gathered, the sprawled
field, horizon deep, breathed heat along its flats.
Shirts removed to awkward rubs of lotion, and caps
tucked tight over the glare of vision’s line. We stalled
what we could, as heavy hoes were lifted, then trawled
those burrowed plains for weeds, walking the earthen tracks.
Two hours before noon and the sky was burnt spotless
and those who wanted water had to weigh the time
between turning back and getting the weeding done.
Noiseless pain was passed in verbal games. The hottest
day in years ran dirt and sweat down lengths of our spines.
Until, exhausted, we turned: the one long field outrun.