I grew up in Indiana,
but a certain cynicism lives in my heart,
gained no doubt
from surreptitious midnight readings
of New Yorker cartoons.
This caused me to truly believe
that those quiet Indiana evenings
were the fool’s paradise
of a witty (and nattily dressed)
writer on the upper east side of Manhattan.
That shucking sweet corn on the front porch—
corn just picked and hauled to my car
by a glistening young man for $2.00 a dozen—
was a false memory.
That washing and drying dishes
while singing in harmony was only
done in mythic Minnesota towns.
I thought these dubious memories
required a highly paid therapist
until tonight, when we ate the corn,
tender as the memory of fireflies—
eating till we were awash with summer;
till we were covered with the warm juice of summer.
Now we wash and dry all the dishes in the world,
singing “Down in the Valley”
for every little babe with wide eyes,
for every tired mother on our sweet-corn planet.