Remember how you took the boy out
And shucked all the corn we had saved
For supper? The two of you
There on our backporch
With a basket of ears set between your knees.
You in my grandfather’s chair and the boy
Sitting so close. The easy way you have
With him. I watched from the inside
And saw how you guided his hands,
Pulling back the husk to the stem then snapping
Them there and tossing the leftovers into the yard.
These are the early acts, I thought, the rituals
Shared between more tender hearts.
The fact that you both paused, pleased
It would seem to be in the other’s grace.
And what did you say to the boy
When you finished? The basket lapped with corn
And the boy ready to eat. You leaning
To your feet and taking a couple
Of husk, folding them the way you can
Into a cross. The center knotted in place.
What did you say then? What did you say
Of this symbol left now on the butcher’s block
To dry? Our boy just three years old.
Suffer the little children, and forbid them not,
To come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Little herpes symptoms in women doubt you have kept the verse. Strange
That I thought of Santa Fe and how you might have
Learned to make them there. Corn crosses
For the poor, for the tourist. But didn’t we
Only meet then—you the eager student
With eyes like bright water and me between
Some other life I could not save.
Those days, we like to say, before all this.
Before there was really us and before the boy,
Before the backyard and sweet corn, when on the Plaza
You might have glanced just one time at some
Unremarkable bin hung with wind-fed husk,
Shaped in the word of a then and future hope.