Out of the Windfields

Jessica Jacobs

When the combines brought the fields
to their knees, it was like running through 

an arid spreadsheet. Grid by grid,
dutifully, I logged my miles, the hours 

on my feet, but kept true account of nothing
so much as my loneliness. Landlocked 

Indiana. The place I’d come, god help me, to try
and find poetry. How long since I’d been held there,

even by water, given my weight to another
medium? All winter, the sky was desolate

white of a mussel’s middle leeched by cold
of its gasoline glimmer. Static

landscape, untongued by tides. No dunes,
just windrowed cornstalks

crusted with snow. Yet constant
as lighthouses were the turbines. Idle,

they were sky-flung starfish
far from the sea, but moving they were

majestic, amphibious animals in their proper
element. Able to arc into the unseeable and return

with power. For three years, I tried to do the same.
But instead was desiccated, field-stripped, brittled

down to parts. All I could do was write until my sentence
ended. And in my final Midwestern week:

there you were. Beside me as my headlights slid
the storm-slick streets. Submerged

together without stars or streetlights, a turbine’s
red light pulsed its beacon through the rain. Beneath it,

your hands bound me back together. In answering
prayer, I folded myself into the footwell; knelt

between your knees. And my mouth
to you was every water

I’d ever tasted: clean shock
of snowmelt in an alpine pond; tongue cased

in ocean’s wetsuit of salt; green and mineral
of a springfed lake—

but most of all,
chlorine’s high bite in the throatback

of every Florida pool in summer,
the water so bath-warm, so body-kindred, that entering

was like sliding into another skin—skin
that entered you back.