My family grew corn in the heartland, but I’ve never seen it quite like this:
Angelic, husk-winged, guarding every shard of bone hidden in the soil.
How is it that I didn’t know I had thousands of angels? They were with me all the time.
I remember going out into the fields with my grandpa, crossing into the humid network, stalks sending out messages to each other across droplets of August air.
I could hear their choir, their low and incandescent hum, the sway of bass clef notes rocking me to sleep in the farmhouse.
Emily Dickenson advised us all to tell the truth slant, and I remember this is what hailstorms taught the fields. The slant truth seemed tragic, in a way, as if nothing stays upright or rooted for long. Not even cornstalks.
Not even families.
Not even farmhouses, burned to the ground long after they’ve become vacant, when the small town fire department needs a fire to practice on.
Something is always missing.
Maybe it’s just a three-hundred-sixty degree view, the ability to see that everything is overflowing,
all the time.
Cortney Collins lives on the Front Range of Colorado with her two beloved feline companions, Pablo (after Neruda) and Lida Rose (after a barbershop quartet song in The Music Man). She is the founder of the pandemic-era virtual poetry open mic, Zoem. Zoem produced an anthology of its poets’ work, Magpies: A Zoem Anthology, of which she is co-editor. Her work has been published by South Broadway Press, 24hr Neon Mag, Amethyst Magazine, Sheila-na-Gig, Back Patio Press, and others. Cortney considers herself a poet secondarily; her first calling is encouraging others’ beautiful words in community.
This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Dwell will be available to purchase August 1st, 2022.