Mary Cuffe Perez

The Night Before Haying

Melinda and I stood straight as soldiers at the far end of the field watching the kitchen lights blinking.

We should have been under that light, but the moon had whispered and the grasses were high.

A perfect harvest, he said. The timothy ripe for cutting.

Each stem fired, seed heads burst, tickling our palms and swishing against our chests just coming into bloom. Melinda had moon all over her and I laughed and touched her face to believe it. All we ever wanted was to run. The moon, the grass, the night. I grabbed her hand and we ran, broke apart, ran

as hard as we could through the middle of the field, our bare legs setting the grasses to sing, to gospel, to send bobolinks to flee,
save their young.

Harvest was the end of things.

We cut black, savage craters through the heart of it. No more a perfect harvest, but a scream against the light that spread to the porch, outlining the man who stood there, as we struggled for breath, laughing anyway.