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40 the minnesota review Jay Grover-Rogoff Labor Labor is neither blossoming nor dancing. Labor is scrubbing, drying, sterilizing the milkers, station, vacuum line, bulk tank, snoveling sawdust, shoveling shit, throwing thirty haybales down narrow chutes, clambering over the bales in the loft, not even touching a cow again till evening. Somewhere, watching, her father's eyes see me in the loft, stumbling on rafters and loose twine. He is all-seeing, all-hearing: I know he knows I curse the stink, the sawdust in my collar, the blisters rising on hands too sensitive, long spoiled, now stinging. Inside the empty, dark barn, mind grows dark and travels out the cleaner as it slams the shit along. All I can do is sing Sixties junk from the radio, or mutter what poems I know and haven't yet forgot. I'm caught in the barn's vacuum, in the middle between unused-to work and useless babble, developing my arms, decaying thought. Her father, in for lunch, scrapes his platter and slowly utters, in his barnyard slang, a crystal from his tractor-thoughts, which gleams. While I am laboring, he is at work. ...


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