Prairie Poetry   
  Corn Wars

we detasseled corn, we
truckloads of teenaged girls
sneaking our first cigarettes
in the back rows
nursing crushes on our
farmboy foremen
our tender sexuality awakening
as we robbed the corn
of its own fruitfulness

the vengeful stalks sliced
our sunburned arms with
their sword-like leaves, gave us
corn rash to menace our raw
red flesh but we giggled and ran
home at the end of each day
to sink our teeth into
golden ears, boiled and buttered

we left the last of those laughing summers
grew into women through the long harsh
winter and when the next crop of corn came
the cannery called our names.
we lost the sun then working
night shifts in artificial light cutting corn off the cobs
tossing the corpses into stinking piles
backs breaking arms aching until we
stumbled blinking into the morning light
onto loading docks already piled with
new mountains of musky corn
peeking from their husks
squinting though their golden hair
laughing at our lost lives.

  Carol Manley
  Copyright © 2008 Carol Manley
  Author Index | Biographies | Support Prairie Poetry | Month Index | Year Index | Home