The Corn Baby

By Mark Wunderlich b. 1968 Mark Wunderlich
They brought it. It was brought   
from the field, the last sheaf, the last bundle   

the latest and most final armful. Up up   
over the head, hold it, hold it high it held   

the gazer’s gaze, it held hope, did hold it.   
Through the stubble of September, on shoulders   

aloft, hardly anything, it weighed, like a sparrow,   
it was said, something winged, hollow, though   

pulsing, freed from the field   
where it flailed in wind, where it waited, wanted   

to be found and bound with cord. It had   
limbs, it had legs. And hands. It had fingers.   

Fingers and a face peering from the stalks,   
shuttered in the grain, closed, though just a kernel   

a shut corm. They brought him and autumn   
rushed in, tossed its cape of starlings,   

tattered the frost-spackled field.

Source: Poetry (March 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2009
 Mark  Wunderlich


Mark Wunderlich’s collections of poetry include The Anchorage (1999), winner of the Lambda Literary Award, and Voluntary Servitude (2004). As J.D. McClatchy said of Wunderlich’s debut, “The Anchorage bravely takes up the raw mess of desire and pain, the cold ache of longing and loss, and in sleek and searing poems exposes the way we live now to the larger powers of the racing heart and the radiant imagination.” Wunderlich’s . . .

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Poems by Mark Wunderlich

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Nature, Summer, Fall, Landscapes & Pastorals, Religion, Other Religions, Mythology & Folklore

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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