24 Feet at a Time
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24 Feet at a time
© 2003 Aaron Traffas (BMI)
I busted my knuckles on the side of my combine,
Massey Ferguson broken down again.
I took it out on that bearing with a nine pound sledge
and the force of a south Kansas wind.
I can hear the straw popping and drying in the sun.
It’ll be ready to go before long.
When the dew lets up I’ll climb right on up
in the cab where I belong.
I’m cutting wheat on the old home place
where the bushels keep on rolling in.
Another round on a red dirt farm,
I’m steering straight into the wind.
I’m going round and round until the bin gets full,
back and forth with the engine whine,
terrace and corner — keep that line —
living 24 feet at a time.
I order up another thermos of coffee
to keep my eyes from shutting down.
Caffeine and nicotine: the only diet for me
as the shadows grow long on the ground.
The dirt red sun looks as tired as I,
the Gyp Hills put it to sleep.
I turn on my lights and throw in a chew
and put the header back into the wheat.
I put a hole in the block of my big red combine
in the summer of 2003.
As I walked to the truck I broke down and cried,
that machine was like a brother to me.
My friends said go green and buy a John Deere;
I told them to go straight to hell.
Come June the next year my 860 and me
came pulling back in the field.