Through the Back Forty

The old four hundred screamed through the rain.
Throttle flat and stick to his right knee,
He held on to the wheel, white knuckled,
For the back roads sought to throw him.

The call came in by the crackling two-way,
Twenty head spooked and out in the wild.
But the crash of metal and yell of pain,
Signed off the man beyond the squelch.

A flash of light lit the puddles ahead,
He could feel the thunder in his chest,
The wagon towed, bounced erratic,
But panic in his heart muted it all.

The upper eighty was four miles out,
An eternity at the speed of nineteen fifty.
He stood on the right brake and spun the yoke,
To wrangle the red through the row of lilacs.

The wagon threw its pin and tumbled loose,
So much less to pull through the mud.
His face carved through rain and wind,
And the tire’s throw couldn’t catch him.

Almost there.
Past the pivot.
Almost there.
Past the silo.
Almost there.

The hazy, grey lit up again,
With a brilliant flash above,
He saw the toppled, mangled gate,
And the crumpled, still figure beneath.

Pulling the throttle to stand,
He swung a leg over the seat to the hitch,
Stepped off and the tractor left him,
To find it’s own place in the storm.

He threw the bent Tarter like straw,
And knelt in the muck by the man.
Hoarse, he yelled through fear, “dad?”
And braced for the world to end.

But the man’s eyes opened, squinting,
Then weakly said, “I’m ok. Get yer mom.”
And all of the cold, pelting rain,
Now stung and roared around them.