Amid the Alien Corn – David Swerdlow

Not knowing if our names will reach us
if we are called because who would
call us now that we are no longer

common or unusual, just
these long bodies
whose clothes sweep the ground— 

We do not know how the corn is planted
until we kneel and take up the soil
to smell it and to let it run 

through our hands
to the ground, and still
it is neither our soil
nor our ground; it is a guess, 

a guess lasting
on our faces longer than anything
we can say, though we know

the corn tastes like nothing from home
where corn is plentiful and beautiful
if we remember it correctly, but this too
is becoming a guess,

making our hands and our tongues
less than our own.

D SwerdlowDavid Swerdlow’s poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, The Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. He’s published two books of poetry with WordTech Editions: Bodies on Earth (2010) and Small Holes in the Universe (2003). His novel, Television Man, is forthcoming from RBY/Czykmate Productions. He teaches literature and creative writing at Westminster College in Pennsylvania.