At half-past five — the earth cooling,
the sweat of his shirt
soaked up in red dirt —
he tunnels his arm through the weight
of a bag of wheat, slowly withdraws it,
and sees how the yellow grains
shiver, as though magnetized away
from his skin, each one alone and trembling.
Walking beside the fence, in another paddock,
he discovers a grain
caught in the hairs of his wrist;
he bends down, allows it to fall,
and with the careful toe of his boot
presses it into the ground.
All night sprawled on the verandah of his hut,
he wakes to the call of the pallid cuckoo,
its blunted scale
low on the heads of unharvested wheat —
not rising towards him, not falling away,
but close by, unchanging, incomplete.