A journal of narrative writing.
Years Like Rows of Corn

Listen to "Years Like Rows of Corn"
read by Katherine Riegel

1. I wanted to live on light, to drink from streams glowing the green-gold of fireflies. I read too much. I believed everything we should tell children not to believe. 2. I stood close to the burn barrel where we lit our trash on fire and the heat snipped away a little of my hair, just the strands along my right temple. I fell back and the static sound stopped and I smelled my own luck. 3. Other things I believed: that I would not fall when I climbed in the barn rafters; that finding four-leafed clovers in the back yard and pressing them between soft pages would preserve that place forever; that all animals would listen to me like our horses did, puffing sweet breath from their nostrils, lowering their heads to mine. 4. Water, too, had its chance at me, the floodwaters of the Sangamon carrying me over the drainage ditch so my feet touched only snake-like weeds that twined around my ankles— the same waters that kept the dark loam of our lower pasture fertile so the horses grew fat on agile grasses. 5. Again and again, I open the door on what I lost: small farm above the river on a blacktop road meant for bikes in summer and sleds in winter. Huge breathing sky, red tulips in the bend of the driveway. 6. My blood balloons in my veins, I float over years like rows of corn. I lean over myself at ten. I don't know if I want to give that child some warning or take her in my arms and run off into the fields where at least we do not have to fear because we have nothing left that can be stolen.