- Indiana, While It Lasted, and: Pluck
Indiana, While It Lasted
She drove them out of town at dusk. Past the fluorescent lights of truck stops,
their twitching signs. Whole fields of gold tassels undulated in the wind, an accordion
of small birds. That’s how things were. A tractor path between cloying rows of corn.
The boy’s hand drumming his thigh until they thumbed for buttons and straps.
The metal buckle dug its jaw into her knee, and she touched his skinny shoulders,
the sparse field of hair along the sternum. Gas-station sodas seeped through their paper cups,
purple light still grazing the west. A late summer then of thirst and distant passing
cattle rigs. She drove them home, her shaking hands steady on the wheel. [End Page 186]
Michigan cranberries and half pecks of yellow Krispies weighted the tables
in the storeroom barn. Cider spiced my siblings’ cornhusk hair. The woodstove
smoldered and spent its fuel, my fingers tracing knotted gourds. I shook with the cold’s
breath on the back of my neck, each day’s darkening. Outside, the orchard’s hills
shuddered toward sleep. Root-choked caverns, I imagined, that might open like a wound
and swallow. But above, apples spilled from trees. Late crop, bountiful and heedless
to the surety of frost. Be brave, be brave, they whispered, chill to the touch. [End Page 187]
corinna mcclanahan schroeder is the author of the poetry collection Inked, winner of the 2014 X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award in poetry, and her poems have been published in numerous journals, including Shenandoah, the Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, Poet Lore, and Blackbird.