Thresher Days


The wheat wants an apology,
for taking me this long
to show my wrists
to the thresher boy.

Finally a summer where he asks how my parents are
and my jaw is ready,
stretched open so he can hear about them,

I may look different after,
I will need a new name,
picked by my parents—they’re calling right now
so I can help them write a check out in English.

We take our time
to heave and hug our way
through the harvest season.
And then the stalks towered

and tickled the floorboards of Heaven.
Half-asleep heaveneers
spot my culprit, my ex-thresher boy
and his ginger hair,

a beacon
to anyone that far up
that these farm boys had the audacity
to be wanted.


Oswaldo Vargas is a former farmworker and a 2021 Undocupoets Fellowship recipient. He has been anthologized in Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color and published in Narrative Magazine and Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-A-Day” (among other publications). He lives and dreams in Sacramento, California.

[Purchase Issue 26 here]

Thresher Days

Related Posts

never be a punching bag movie poster

Review: Never Be A Punching Bag For Nobody

70 acres of rolling hills, playing fields, trees, and waterfront vistas—a shared community space for playing, picnicking, relaxing, and celebrating—was razed and leveled in one weekend. In its place is a long, flat, fenced-off runway.

Hall of Mirrors

November 2023 Poetry Feature: Virginia Konchan and Gabriel Spera

Gracefully we hold each other / architects and optimists / always at arm’s length like / congenital dreamers / tango masters slinkily coiled / bright candles in a hall of mirrors / whatever I propose you propose / to conquer repeating and repeating / the opposite.

Filipino immigrants at a farm labor camp

The Ghost of Jack Radovich 

Mama saw her boss, Jack Radovich, standing in her row during a sweltering San Joaquin afternoon. She was picking table grapes alone when he suddenly appeared, several yards away, gazing off in the direction of the blue-gray Sierra mountains.