by Marsha Pomerantz
Green, of May, all poised, unready. Bristly, in a pale shade. I pass a slow hand over these heads of children not mine. Which hand, and how soft does bristle make it? Serried seed pairs with ascendant extensions. Symmetry says no on, no on, no on—until. That lanky broomish thing, until, as if in recognition, waving. Past us, to what is not yet. Soul extending the body of barley, its duple measured grains, into barely being. Past us, to what was. Cadenzas of sea pouring and sand spilling, ancient shells crumbling under the thud: how this field became calciferous. A poppy coughs.
To work a field you have to buy it first. Each field not in your possession has a buy symbol in its center. You can adjust the controls according to your preferences in the options menu or use the default settings. West of your farm is a farming equipment supplier. You can access it at any time by pressing the P key.
Barley spears aiming at a beard of cloud: puncture here for rain. Spears are a carapace of perforations with a thousand undulant feet, seeded sprays of light too close to see. Coupled up the shaft, the seeds read no on, no on, no on, and a mutant pair, oh no! Till on, hands rooting deep, till on where the sea has put us down. Does someone own this soil? Someone owns the work, a deeded green.
To make money, you have to grow plants and deliver the harvest to one of the unloading stations. You should only sow what you can reap, as ripe grain starts to rot if not harvested. If you can’t finish a mowing mission you’ve started, you can either let the time run out or cancel the mission manually. You do not get punished for a failed mission.
Sometimes peas plant themselves among barley: to complete the protein. We have seen the flowers, purple veins pulsing like a farmer’s face in the grace of good light. Tendrils fill in spaces with a bluer green: they dumb-show with barley shafts, all tangling toward the sun. No on, no on, seed pairs practice, wrapped, unwrapped. Exposed, we listen, feed on green, and leave, undertow slapping us back to the place this was and will not be when we return.
At the start of the game you can walk into the pulsating question mark symbols to get gameplay information relevant to this location. The manual has been designed to help you take your first steps in this world full of possibilities.
Well enough for a green breeze, eons on a seabed now plateau, before September stubble. But we are city people. What if those duple seeds in fact read no one? What if this is rye?
The guide is nonetheless not complete; experience is still the best teacher.
*Indented text is from the manual for Farming Simulator 15, developed by Giants Software.
Image by Marsha Pomerantz
About the Author:
Marsha Pomerantz is the author of poems and essays, and a sometime translator from Hebrew. Work has appeared in Harvard Review, PN Review, Raritan, Salamander, Best American Essays 2016; forthcoming at broadsidedpress.com. Poems collected in The Illustrated Edge (Biblioasis). “They Run,” available on Berfrois, has been made into an artist book by Claire Illouz, of Chérence, France: claire-illouz.com.