The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn
We have always absorbed heaven,
even through these days of malformed
grain and truth pulled dark and low:
variety confirms purpose. This ear
captures no sound. These inflorescences
produce starch. Those
release pollen. You will die one day.
Inaction reflects uncertain intent.
One must weigh frost,
and with their shallow
roots, susceptibility to drought, poor
soils and high wind. Your lips
kiss steel more readily than flesh, yet
I pray that you amend your thoughts
and accept my proffered hand,
that the individual fruits of the cob
may one day fuse into a single mass,
bringing weight to sunlight,
and a greater grain to your table. But
the door stands unopened, a voice
censuring the innocent. I contemplate
converted light, consider
crows, subduction and rags flapping
in the darkness, silent
tongues wavering unseen above the
unhoed dirt, within each kernel’s
purpose, deep into a hollow core,
raging, unmet and shriveled,
hands opened, resolute yet proud.
The title is from a traditional song, as performed by Alison Krauss and Union Station. The poem is my take on it. “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn” was included in GFT Presents: One in Four, a semiannual, print literary journal published by GFT Press.