Bringing In The Corn
by Barbara Harroun

Almost Thanksgiving and the farmers
are in the field, bringing in the corn.

The half shorn fields, and the thin
silver sunlight beckons winter—
the naked branches crooked like fingers—
come, come.

On arrival, my daughter, nearly 5
spots the last apples in the tree
the ones the deer eat, standing
on their hind legs. The tall prairie
grass is matted in places much
like my daughter’s unruly hair
upon waking. She cradles
the apple my father shook
from the tree. My son on my hip,
my fruit, my abundant harvest.

Behind the tool shed, my father’s second deer
of the season, upside down and field dressed.
My daughter wants to see and I don’t
stop her. She only goes so far, apple in
hand. Why, she asks. To feed us, I say,
to nourish us in winter. She is learning
a version of the first Thanksgiving that my
husband detonates over dinner. Venison,
I say. All our food comes from somewhere real,
I say, wishing I was closer, my face pressed up
to the death of what feeds me.

Returning home, we pass cemeteries
on both sides, but I am seeing
the bottom field, once the corn
is brought in. The deer, easing out
of the timber, exquisitely alive, clearly visible
and set to feast.

Barbara Harroun is an Assistant Professor of English at Western Illinois University where she teaches creative writing and composition. Her work has previously appeared in the Sycamore Review, issues of Another Chicago Magazine, Buffalo Carp, Friends Journal, Inquire, and Bird’s Thumb. It is forthcoming in i70 Review, Sugared Water, Requited Journal, Per Contra, and Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland. She lives in Macomb, IL with her favorite creative endeavors, Annaleigh and Jack, and her awesome husband, Bill.