Falling from the Hay Wagon
by Laura Grace Weldon

I stand on square bales piled 10 feet high,
pushing them to the edge for others to stack
as July sun shoves between barn boards
in hot dust-ridden stripes.
All of us weary, chaff stuck to sweat
after a long day of haying
in heat dry as the cracked creek bed.
A Benadryl haze makes my limbs
feel like pudding, so wobbly I’m sillier
than usual as I wade to the edge,
still chortling as I trip, tip over,
fall to the barn’s dirt floor,
landing hard between wagon and post,
jeans somehow intact
against a pitchfork’s rusty tines.
I’m jolted into silence
until I find I’m fine,
me, the worrier
who never sees what’s coming.
My family leans over me, aghast
while I lie in the dust laughing
at all the good fortune we have sown.

Previously published in Portals (Middle Creek Publishing, 2021).

Photo by Friderike on Unsplash

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There are no longer cattle on our pasture, the hayfields lie fallow, but memories as physical as haying stay with me all the way to the cellular level.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura Grace Weldon lives on a small ramshackle farm, where she works as a book editor, teaches writing workshops, and maxes out her library card each week. Laura served as Ohio’s 2019 Poet of the Year and is the author of four books. Visit her at, Twitter, and Facebook.