Monday, October 18, 2010


This is a poem by John Smith, a former resident of the Mission:

The repetitive motion
Pulling, stripping
The sound that gave the task its name:
Shuck! Shuck!
Two baskets full.
It took them about 20 minutes.
He remembered as a boy
Doing the same
On long summer afternoons
His mother asking,
Interrupting his reading,
To shuck and then brush
The opalescent silks away
From the fat, yellow ears.
Today the corn will go on tables
With no placemats, no centerpiece,
No heirloom flatware.
There will be no blood relations
Holding hands during grace.
But ‘round this table
A new brotherhood:
Comrades of the slow death;
Of concrete; of sore and sweaty feet.

And, today, he didn’t mind the worms at all.

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