Timothy Hanson Cultivated It

There’s a type of grass known as timothy. It is grown for hay, mostly. I imagine that it is sweet-smelling in the sun, sparkling and mouldering beneath the dew, coiled into hayrolls along the side of the road.

I do not know my grasses; it is the words only that I know, baseless, free. I draw them on the ricks by the roadside, timothy, alfalfa, oat, millet… we come to the top of a hill larger than the others and for a second I can see to the horizon. Miles and miles of those perfect cylinders. The cutting has left the fields rigid, grids laid firmly over the unknowable prarie beneath. With the windows down I can just smell the scorching of the grass.

My mother is driving while my father watches the fields with me. I watch the back of his head sidelong. A muscle in his neck ticks evenly: I know he is naming the grains even as I am. It is a private fiction we are building between the cities, the illusion of perfect knowledge.

I lean forward, whisper into his hair, “The clover is bright this year.”

He nods and different muscles flex into a smile.