In Ohio by Grace Curtis

In Ohio

by Grace Curtis

One either believes in God
or one probably really is
going to hell and Ohioans
know the difference, because
like the small seeds
in her brown fields,
you are below the surface
yet visible, corn hands waving
as relatives stand near
to measure your success, to see
where you are by July. From
one end to the next,
crosswise and looping,
roads ribbon the ground
stringing together sown
cities and fields across
knolls the last
exhalations of the Alleghenies?
over land smoothed glacier-flat,
or through valleys ladled out
by God himself. Spring mornings
look out into a patent sky
laundered each night; the last
drops of water wringing
onto new-mowed blades of grass,
sharp enough to prick
bare feet, the loose stuff
clinging. It’s here
anyone not doing
hard work God’s work?
is lost, a slacking tourist. It is
here the Rose of Sharon
is intentionally grown, where
sweet pea seeds, marigolds,
and zinnias come in
packets from the TSC
or Kmart, where combines
and tractors are cleaned,
at the ready, pride-parked
in poled shells of corrugated
sheet-metal waiting like soldiers
at attention, soldiers in the
king’s army, ready to do
holy work. I’ve seen it
my whole life: behemoth
droids bred for service,
mutants among machines
in a place that bows
to machines as they strain
at the struts, pulling
to free themselves, to charge
armed, into full-bellied fields.

Grace Curtis chapbook, The Surly Bonds of Earth, was selected by Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Stephen Dunn as the winner of the Lettre Sauvage 2010 Poetry Contest. She has had poetry in Scythe Literary Journal, The Chaffin Journal, Waccamaw Literary Journal, Clockwise Cat, and Dark Lady Poetry, among others. Grace received her MFA from Ashland University in 2010. She lives in Dayton , Ohio where she helps out as a volunteer at The Antioch Review.