It Happens in This Latitude

Here a loose chain of hills fences in
our eccentricity, a penance
of blood deeper than ground water.
Born inside this geography,

held by stubborn faith, we plough
and plant great fields of corn,
believing the soul of the diligent
shall be made fat.
But sometimes

after storm the air turns green,
pale as katydid wings,
and a ledgerdemain of light pulls us
shimmering from this land’s rough sleeve.

Our solitary blood rises up,
tribal at the core. We drink the light
like we drink our whiskey—neat
and burning all the way down.

We husk the silky-haired corn, dance
on good black earth, our souls
filled with the dumb luck of summer
until the light begins to close

back on itself and something in us
wants winter. One by one,
we slip over the hills to mewl
in the body's dark shelter once more.

--Susan Elbe
First appeared in The Laurel Review