Eleven thousand years ago the last
glacier scraped through this field.
Transmuted by the new sun, struck
numb with fear. When Joseph Smith
fell laughing to his knees before a pillar
of fire, his tongue swelling, his father
descended and spoke in a voice as cold
as the risen Sangamon Creek, saying
go home. Past noon, this basin of dirt
riddled with thick bloodless cracks.
A crop duster buzzes low overhead
to cough its toxic rain like a blessing
toward the dark corduroy of soybeans
to the west. Paint huffers straighten
on knee pads cut from vulcanized tires
and their pink-stained hands slow for
half a beat. Through the propped back
door of the school bus, popular music
washes over them, saying nothing
they haven’t heard somewhere before.