by Chris Wood
for my father
Grasp its ripe green skin,
wrap the tanned strap round your wrist.
Start the steel blade at the silky blonde
hairline. In the heel of your nimble hand
run the razor through the husk,
pull the hull down. The last task
is lop the lobe from the bottom of the cob,
drop the naked maize in a bin of fowl fodder,
where it waits for winter to come:
yellow eyes dim; the nub grows dumb.
Now from his pouch Grandpa hands you a wad
of dark green leaves you take with a nod.
When you put it in your mouth
to make a man, no more the youth,
your pink face greens. Laughter sweats your pleas.
Mommy gets mad. She grabs your little ear, leads
you back home, away from that barn.
It’s okay to grow, but it’s not yet your turn.
Chris Wood is an English instructor at Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College. His writing has appeared in Naugatuck River Review, The Melic Review, Appalachian Heritage, Now & Then and Concho River Review.