The cornstalks seem happy just standing there all summer.Until someone calls time money, rain adjusts the river,and shall we rotate the crops? My familyspoke Polish, came from farms. I’ve seenthe black-and-whites of haystacks and tried to guessif it was end of summer, and why are the farmers’ wiveswearing their pinafore aprons in the field?Sometimes, in an off-year, a single stalk of cornshoots up among the knee-high soybean.They call this a volunteer. What wants out of the pastwill come: something, someone, some-horse, somecrow, somewren. But I am nothingif not new world. As I bite a cold radish,place an iron key on the back of my neck tryingto halt a nose bleed, I curse the landscapeof my face, the lineage in its shape,the jawline like a beam or some similar part of a barn—mother’s father’s features from way backwhen farm was only an extension of continent,and the light of the world keeps going.
Copyright © 2019 by Christopher Salerno.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Christopher Salerno is the author of four books of poems and the editor of Saturnalia Books. His newest collection, Sun & Urn (University of Georgia Press, 2017), was selected by Thomas Lux for the Georgia Poetry Prize. He is a New Jersey State Council on the Arts fellow, and his poems have appeared in the New York Times, American Poetry Review, Guernica, Prairie Schooner, Jubilat, Fence, and elsewhere. He’s an Associate Professor at William Paterson University where he teaches in the BA and MFA Programs in Creative and Professional Writing. Find him at csalernopoet.com.
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