by Julie Behrens
The corn was overdue to come down. The ears hung heavy on their stalks, near bursting their husks with yellow-sweet chin-running juice, their gold-silk tassels turned brown. Soon, if I could get it done, that field would be stubble, like a man’s morning beard, and you could see all the way to the creek way far back and visible now only by the trees that marked it, to the road beyond the big house, and cows on either side. A big piece of land for a woman to manage alone. It was my first autumn on the farm since the rest of my family had died, and I was dangerously late in my work.
But I was glad the stalks had been left to grow high as I ran into the corn that night, the footsteps of large men in boots stomping after me like an oncoming train. I ran, because they had come to kill me, and the corn was the best refuge I had. My bare feet were hard as boots and quiet, and it was dark. The harvest moon was rising up above the fields like a gourd, and it made the fields look angry and dry. I ran blind, and the men behind me ran blind.