Hold your breath when you drive past the cemetery at night. The spirits are restless and they’ll rustle in your lungs like wind through cornfields if you’re not careful. Roll down the windows and feel thick air against your cheeks, dark, perfumed. Release as you turn the corner. Leave the dots of rose granite tombstones in the rearview. You can taste the night now like a cup of strong jasmine tea, so flowery it’s almost bitter. Piano notes crackle and evaporate on the radio as you move out of range. Pick up speed as amber streetlamps streak your window. Quickly pass the orange barrels, let phosphorescent strips flash white in the corner of your eye like hot lightning opening the sky like a dream. Leave its smoke in your mirrors. See your headlights illuminate a stand selling sweet corn off the edge of the highway. The naked cedar box is cracked from sitting through rain and shine. Measure your time on the road by fields: corn, corn, soybeans, corn, cows, soybeans. Thank God you don’t have to hold your breath when you drive past cornfields at night, though ghosts rustle more through leaves than gravestones. Change the radio station so you don’t have to listen to static whispering like anxious wind. Listen instead to the weatherman, his voice a low and smooth warm front. The air is sticky and sweat rolls between your back and leather seat. Take a deep breath, a long drink of warm, honeyed tea.
A cornstalk shivers At the touch of humid wind. Somewhere, thunder groans.
Elena Rielinger is an emerging writer who has had the joy of calling Ohio, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Michigan “home.” She enjoys writing nature poetry that appeals to the senses of taste and smell. She is forthcoming in Moonchild Magazine. Find her on Twitter @elena_rielinger and Instagram @elenarielinger.