Thunder Lizard

On Allhallows EveI crunch across the field of the farmer down the road. His reaper, silent as a shadow, stands sweating in the moist, autumnal air, A Massey-Fergusson 750 Brontosaur of the cobs, belly-full and ready for a holiday, it looms in a lake of fog, the teeth of its corn-head as bright as quicksilver in the moonlight. Sixty acres of broken stalks surround the combine king. The husks whisper. They are as dry as old paper. A few kernels of corn, rust-red, hide in the ruthful soil, fodder for possums and other midnight gleaners. I climb the ladder to the cab, past a radiator as big as a billboard, and lift my eyes toward loam beyond the reaper's kingdom, already plowed and ready for winter wheat. Rude clumps of clay, survivors of the harrow, glimmer in the mist. Stumbling home over furrows full of shucks, I remember the black cats and small goblins who rang our doorbell earlier in the evening. "Help the poor," they said. Before unlatching the fence-gate, I turn for a last look at the massy monarch, but clouds shroud the moon, and he has vanished in the darkness.

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