Allya Yourish :: “The corn sweats”

it’s why the summers
in Iowa
are so humid

Actually it draws water 
up from the earth 
passing wetness
weighing down
open air

I was drawn up
from the earth
but swamp (I wish
I didn’t have to claim
that) not prairie 

Untouched prairie is 
unfathomably rare
so much stripped 
turned farm turned

The stench of a CAFO
is also unfathomable 
as in beyond imagining 
death on the nose

But beyond the corn
and the pigs
is a swimming hole

Horses are there too 

And it is 92 degrees 
and Iowa humid
and I am laying 
on a blanket
with this poem

Iowa also has a lot
of poems but maybe that’s
just my Iowa 
my private collision 
with land and sky 

There is so much sky here
it unfurls in every direction 
begging poetry 

Everyone I know 
has written a poem
on the sky

Today my poem 
sits under 
vast blue
and those white wispy 
clouds that beg
for oil paint

Today we are swimming

And that big sky hangs
overhead air gold and thick 
with early summer

And my poem calls across 
murky cool water 
calls to every Iowa poem Iowa 
sky Iowa summer 
with corn-heavy wind


Allya Yourish is from Portland, Oregon and currently living in Ames, Iowa. She has two cats that keep her heart filled with joy and a big bookcase that keeps her brain buzzing with poems. She was a nanny in Paris, France, a Fulbright grantee in Kuala Krau, Malaysia, a news assistant for the New York Times, and now she is getting her MFA in Creative Writing and the Environment from Iowa State University.