For lunch it’s the bar and a stool by the taps. It’s a sandwich with fries, because it’s Wednesday. It’s July, and the air sticks to itself. The wind heaves at my hair before I go in, but all the fight has gone out of it for now.
Last night I rode south between fields, corn and beans, with the sun sailing away to the west. The fields were straight and true and the corn was as tall as it should be, and the beans. Stray stalks of the former jutted up out of fields of the latter, stubborn holdovers from the fall harvest. I imagined, knowing as little about it as I do, some farmer somewhere. Telling his boy to grow the crops tall when he goes out on his own, so last year’s upshot won’t show.
They don’t need to be knowing you by what you done, he maybe told the boy. Let’s just say, for example, that he added, keep your rows straight and true and each as tall as the other, as much as you can. Pray for it every spring and thank God if it turns out by fall. Let’s say the boy nods, and when the boy is suddenly a man he keeps his rows straight and true and prays when he should and thanks his God when he should. When the beans replace the corn, he watches for stray stalks of the latter, growing as tall as they should one year too late, and cuts them down when he needs to, or when he can.
But I say grow your crops short, charming boy. Darling boy, show me what holds over in you.
A bead of condensation runs down the tap line–racing me with the patience that gravity affords its subjects–and for now I wait to heave downward, to match it, to run slick with friction to whatever end the heat might muster.