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Last Hay

We worked in the meadow
where all day
the haybine and rakes
wove patterns in the green
quilted rows and stitched textures
of mown hay, now windrowed, drying

Late, towards evening
we walked over sharp stubble
where the mouse’s forest
and shrew’s jungle were cut
where swallows shifted fast
on quiet air, gathering insects
now shorn of cover

Thus it is as we weave
each day
as green is cut and dried
for winter
as we walk closer to our own fall
where we imagined once
perpetual summer

Dusk drew in the coolness
and the lower world went black
as the sky percolated with pinpoints
planets first, then the greater stars
finally the great ribbon of the Milky Way

I, looking up from our murmuring earth
know that even the fixed stars move
that all the constellations change
and some day the Great Bear shall dissolve
the Serpent and Cassiopeia too
as shall we
        but so much sooner

and take your hand against this night
and one more time
fill my head with the fragrance
of your hair
        and new mowed hay


John Freiburger is a Wisconsin native perhaps best known for his fourteen years of talking about building science on WPR after a long career as a consultant and designer. He attended the University of Notre Dame where he studied with Frank O’Malley. He has published poetry in various college and small journals.

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