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The first crop sprouts this spring too thin to bale,
so rollers crimp and crack open each stalk
to make the gravelly sod more arable.
That’s how it’s done. Two neighbors stop to talk
above the hum of haybines, shouting news
as swallows skim flies rising from the duff.
The men say what they know the other knows:
“No bottom to it.” “Not hearty enough.”

Flies hatch. Birds feed. The neighbors guesstimate
a stakeless boundary line where their plots touch,
and no one mentions map or plat. That’s it.
Last year’s winterkill. Today’s bank rate.
When one man’s tractor bucks, he kicks the clutch—
the engine judders, but doesn’t quit, not yet.