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.


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