Tobacco Swing Harvester

Tobacco Swing Harvester

I was 13
and sat in the right-side

cropper’s seat
of the swing harvester,

through never-ending rows

of stifling
green. Some older boy

got to drive
the tractor, above the fray,

pull us into
the dew-soaked or barn-hot

field. But
I got to smell the diesel

smoke, feel
each plant release its tar

onto the hair
of my arm, hear the laugh

of my stringer,
Denise West, and see the ever

so slight move-
ments, hand by yellow-leaf

hand, of her
barely buttoned breasts.


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