Most days that summer in the high desert country,
it didn’t take a cyanometer to say that the sky was blue.
And nothing but mares and stallions grew under that sky
on the ranch where my friend Jimmy appeared in the room,
dislodging sleep from his eyes. Rattling a pot to make coffee
for himself and two or three others who were passing through.
Warhol once said that athletes put on weight in the right places.
And though he may have been lusting, Warhol was talking about
young hard-bodied men. Who we were. Jimmy said we had a job
if we wanted it. Bucking hay. And I followed him out the door
and up the road to where we shook a guy’s hand. Started in.
By noon, sweat and hay dust had made a mask of my face.
Jimmy pushed me. And I fell backward off the hay truck.
Then he was laughing and looked like a ponderosa pine
had uprooted. Our breath was the dust of Oregon fields
and the light, which was a whole other story. I must have
been a sight that day he understood how important it can be
to work really hard and laugh out loud for as long as you can.