I am taking Bill's flannels from the line
when she comes. A ship, a woman
dancing through the waving corn
six children in her wake
peeking through bladed ears.
The ship is hot; it backfires
in the last row of corn, and there is popcorn in the night
which isn't supposed to happen
in our plain field of corn.
She is beautiful and large
in her walk. She offers me
blue grain, cupped in deep hands, spilling
like water. Five children each carry a sackful,
their smiles both light and grave.
She is gifted in thought
for she knows to offer us something
I understand. This I think
as she gifts me with coarse grain.
She pats the sixth child on the shoulder
to step forward and mime her needs.
The child lifts a cup to drink.
Turns it over—
mouth tugging a smile; we are watching her—
I take only two sackfuls,
lead them to the river. The children flow behind us
grave and merry, and she walks
Me, I am bright inside with fire as I watch her
unwind hoses to irrigate the ship.
Her feet planted, hands dusty, she is
in grace as she finishes.
Her children stream back to their voyage
she behind them
I behind her.
And she lightly kisses me on top of my head
like a seventh child
and the ship is gone
popcorn firing around her.
I lie back on the plains, flannels caught to my breast
and watch her ascend
away from me
into a field of stars.