Because I never thought about the way
some gifts come into the world

Bloody Butcher between two rows of sunflowers, for instance,
to keep it from the windblow of other pollens—
purple-black yield of dent corn perfect
with creasy greens next spring as hominy,
hoecakes, or whiskey maybe, up the muddy holler.

If you'd planted a different corn the last week in April
this year, you'd've lost it all to three more hard
frosts in May, and snow. The farmer's almanac don't
feed hungry babies and won't be a comfort
but Bloody Butcher might have done, might have done.

Half a dropper of oil when it starts to silk,
eat it fresh when it's in milk stage and if you must
it can dry standing in the field.
When the upright ears sloop down they'll be dry
and good for grinding if you don't let it sprout.

Keep your husks for ticking, braided chair seats,
a doll or three. See what gifts
the Bloody Butcher gives, even Cherokee
corncob jelly if you have sugar enough, and seed,
always seed—the gift of another year
and another year.

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