March 27th, 2013 by Deborah K. Kelly



Land of Lincoln corn,
rows of cool and knee high in July,
rises between leaves,
their green palms
in uniform prayer.

Feed corn fattens eunuch beef.
Seed corn grows sterile.
Come August ripe
the corn rows grow obscene,
drinking and exhaling in a crowded haze.

Soon, farmlands settle,
lightened by harvest…
the export of corn
by truck and train

to farmers

in Mexico
where Guadalupe tastes only memories
of elote, of her own maize.

After Zapata
before NAFTA,
the kernels of cream
became grains of sun
for winter meals.

Her milpa now is a field
of whisk brooms
sweeping dust.

She buys her meal,
uniformed corn that
shoulders through the markets–
profuse, competitive,
from the Land of Lincoln.

Guadalupe daydreams
while sweeping,
imagining the daydreams
of a Zapatista.


Support small farms and food security in Mexico!

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2 Responses to “Rows”

  1. Gregg Hodgson says:

    In “Rows”–your most recent “hand-made gift” to your friends–I liked the fact that when you looked at millions of acres of corporate corn, your mind went flying to NAFTA, Mexican maize, and Zapatistas. It tells the reader a lot about the author!

    Your poetry certainly paints colorful sketches of the Rockies’ small beauties, Deborah–sorta like closeup photos of the tiny lichens that sharp eyes may find on the floor of the most hostile desert–but I think those rugged peaks of yours may look a lot more romantic through the eyes of a poet.

    Warmest, -Gregg

  2. Karen Keane says:

    …….These beautifully precise words neither soothe nor blister… Such is the heart of one like-minded…

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