Plain China

Harvests

by Ian Burnette · Adroit Journal
Flight, Sierra Rivers Hollister · Bennington College

1
We used to play pirates
in an empty field

 

near my uncle’s house,
the unshy earth

 

filling our hands
with oil beetles

 

and the odd penny
spoon—as if she

 

could resent us
for pulling thorns

 

from her shoulder.

 

 

 

2
Then there was the year
the ocean dried,

 

an oilman’s angry
turbo diesel scraping

 

the barnacled road
that cleaved the farm

 

into calcium dust,
his pitch hair

 

and the cold metal pen
in my uncle’s hand—

 

for the lease of the land,
he was promised

 

yellow gold, a hardy
flower called rapeseed

 

with canola in its veins.

 

 

 

3
By spring, bright bud
rucked our field

 

like a floodlight, a beam
the color of house clams

 

or razor flies. Stalks
ate past my uncle’s

 

hungry waist and sucked
the land jaundice

 

with open mouths,
until three boys from town

 

took a quiet girl into
the belly of our field

 

and made her open up.

About the Author

Ian Burnette · Adroit Journal

Ian Burnette is a rising sophomore at Kenyon College, a graduate of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities, a Foyle Young Poet of the Year, and an associate at The Kenyon Review. His work has been published in The Forward Book of Poetry 2015 and The Kenyon Review, and has been selected for the 2015 Adroit Prize for Poetry. “Harvests” first appeared in The Adroit Journal.

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About the Artist

Sierra Rivers Hollister · Bennington College

Sierra Rivers Hollister majored in animation, printmaking, and anthropology. Her work explores themes of culture's entanglement with mythology. She is currently based in Manhattan. Flight first appeared in Bennington’s journal, Silo.