national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

Harvests

Ian Burnette  • 
Adroit Journal

1
We used to play pirates
in an empty field

 

near my uncle’s house,
the unshy earth

 

filling our hands
with oil beetles

 

and the odd penny
spoon—as if she

 

could resent us
for pulling thorns

 

from her shoulder.

 

 

 

2
Then there was the year
the ocean dried,

 

an oilman’s angry
turbo diesel scraping

 

the barnacled road
that cleaved the farm

 

into calcium dust,
his pitch hair

 

and the cold metal pen
in my uncle’s hand—

 

for the lease of the land,
he was promised

 

yellow gold, a hardy
flower called rapeseed

 

with canola in its veins.

 

 

 

3
By spring, bright bud
rucked our field

 

like a floodlight, a beam
the color of house clams

 

or razor flies. Stalks
ate past my uncle’s

 

hungry waist and sucked
the land jaundice

 

with open mouths,
until three boys from town

 

took a quiet girl into
the belly of our field

 

and made her open up.