“Corn Road” by J. D. Carpenter

Driving through the corn to our trailer
is like passing between ranks
of soldiers who tower above us,
ears hanging off their belts
like grenades, banging dangerously
against our mirrors.

Standing on the picnic table,
we listen to the stalks rub
and whisper like dresses.
The breeze makes the corn talk.

To the children of the farmer
who works our land (whose corn this is),
there is no need for comparisons: corn
to silk or soldiers. Things are
what they appear to be.

They sell vegetables at roadside:
tomatoes, peppers, beans. They sit
two to a chair, and push and argue
and laugh. They perch in the bed
of their father’s truck
(the youngest asleep in the crook
of his arm) as he
hauls feed to his heifers.
They tell of the car crash
that killed their cousin.

Things are what they appear to be:
tomatoes, heifers, absence.
There are no levels of meaning,
no symbols yet. There is only
the article itself: Josh asleep
in the crook of his father’s arm;
a road through the corn;
a dead boy’s handsome
colour cameo.

Works Cited

  • Carpenter, J.D. Corn Road. Canadian Literature 130 (1991): 105. Print.