Second Place Poem: “Tennessee Red Cob” by Anna Laura Reeve


Tennessee Red Cob

Grasping the bound ear with the heel of my left hand,
I pierce the top shucks with both thumbs, punching open a slit.
Dry husks rip with a groan and squeak as the great creamy teeth
gleam. Another hard tug frees the whole magnificent horn of plenty.

Dented kernels neatly aligned or occasionally shoepegged—a word
that looks like the jumble it means—sit jammed tight and topfull
as a flush of button mushrooms. I love this corn for its gravity, its heft:
heavy as milk glass, alive as an animal. Its meal, light as wheat flour.

Maíz, elote, late daughter of corn mother, let me guess your secret.
Let me pull another ear and open you again—pink husks billowing
like skirts—rubbing ivory kernels free until your red furry cob
rests in my hands, glittering faintly, light as a twig.


Anna Laura Reeve is a poet living in East Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and
gardens. She is working on her first poetry collection. Previous work of hers has appeared in The
Thinking Republic, Cutthroat, Sakura Review, Fourteen Hills, Rockhurst Review, The Knoxville
Writer’s Guild, and others.


**Featured image photographed by Delonda Anderson

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