Flat, Tall Land
by Janet Lynn Davis

We grew from seed, in neat rows.
We grew long like cornstalks
and shafts of wheat in the land
my grandfather understood.
And the land grew too,
flatter and wider, three hundred sixty
degrees of sameness to young eyes.

Summer: toasted from too much
midwestern sun.
Winter: bleak from too much
midwestern frost.

The land broke all odds, continued to thrive.
It grew tall, even after we had stopped,
even after most of us had dispersed
ourselves to concrete shelters
decades and minds away.

We returned with my grandfather,
to bury him the first day of spring.
The wind whipped us with cutting chill
until the last rose had been placed,

The farm: divided up, ragged.
The house: hollowed from others' neglect.
The bridge: barely used, barely passable.
The town: bereft of identity.

But the land had kept up its pace,
swelled, exploded, now too large
for us, large enough to engorge us.
We left again, rejoined our own
lives in progress.

We longed to live there.
We couldn't live there,
couldn't revisit as children.

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