In reaching for the scythe
I’m reminded of the whetstone
and the few quick strokes
by which it was tested—
the hardness of hot August;
the burning of ticks
off dog backs.

It’s winter now
in this garage made barn,
and the animals seem only curious
that I’d be here so late
on a cold night lit dimly
by a single hanging bulb.

They don’t bother to stir
and disturb their warm huddle.
Cudchewers, we pay each other
little attention.

The curve of the handle still fits.
The blade shines,
its edge oiled against rust.
The loft is full
of Jack Mattison’s field.

There’s nothing to do —
my content is preparedness,
the simplicity of knowing.

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