from their first breath, the wanderers had known their fate. some rebelled and chose the cliffs, the dark river, the knife. some had families and lived each given day loving them. some set themselves on the road early, wanting to drink in the world, gather all its stories.
              but for each of them came a morning, a morning before the night could even begin to blue, that brought the whoo of an owl. they may have cried out. they may have bowed their heads. they may have wept. they may have danced. when the sun rose, all their bodies rose in response.
               they embraced their loved ones. left their homelands. left every possession abandoned on the road.
              the wanderers came from the east, from the south, from the west, from the north. some journeyed for days, some journeyed for years. when they met at the appointed place, they recognized one another. dark, dark their skin. red, red their hearts. gold, gold their eyes.
              touching fingers, they stood shoulder to shoulder. faced the east. with a sigh, their feet sank into the earth, tendons stretching and rooting. their torsos thinned and paled. their arms, held up to the sky, greened into the falling arcs of leaves. their faces, joyous and weary and intent on the sun, became tender golden kernels. their tears and their laughter streamed down in white tassels.
              this is how corn came to be.
ire’ne lara silva is the author of two poetry collections, furia and Blood Sugar Canto, and a short story collection, flesh to bone, which won the Premio Aztlán. ire’ne is the recipient of a 2017 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant, the final recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, and the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award. A new poetry collection, CUICACALLI/House of Song, is forthcoming in March 2019.

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