When to Pick Corn
A man with three pistols walks into a post office
in Edmond, Oklahoma. Or maybe he wakes up
hungry one morning, just outside of Charleston,
and feeds his hatred by shooting up a church.
Maybe he was wearing a badge and uniform
when he murdered an unarmed child,
for simply cutting through a parking lot
in West Memphis, Arkansas.
Maybe he catches a movie in Aurora, Colorado.
Hits a concert in Vegas and a high school in Florida.
Maybe he is Death, slowly growing faceless,
until all we notice are the seasons changing.
Whatever we want is whatever it’s going to be.
Maybe we’ll all be blind come next fall,
sometime close to harvest;
the ground raped with soybeans,
and forced to carry to term.
Those early morning hours,
when you can hear
the corn scream.
Silk turned brown,
husk still green.
John Leonard is a writing professor and assistant editor of Twyckenham Notes, a poetry journal based out of South Bend, Indiana. He holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University. His previous works have appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Rappahannock Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Fearsome Critters: A Millennial Arts Journal, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Rockvale Review, PoeticDiversity, Neologism, Anti-Heroin Chic, Genre: Urban Arts, and Burningword Literary Journal. His work is forthcoming in Mud Season Review, Chiron Review, december magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Blue Earth Review, Roanoke Review, The Blue Mountain Review, and Rock & Sling. John was the 2016 inaugural recipient of the Wolfson Poetry Award, 2018 recipient of the Josephine K. Piercy Memorial Award, and the 2019 recipient of the David E. Albright Memorial Award and Hatfield Merit Award. He lives in Elkhart, Indiana with his wife, three cats, and two dogs. You can find him on Twitter at @jotyleon.