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christian sammartino

Children in the Corn

We played hide and seek in corn fields

while our grandfathers cleaned their guns

and drank cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon.


They barbecued chicken in long smokers,

belching the scent of hickory across the county,

camouflage for becoming lost boys and girls.


The stalks were taller than God.

their golden ears seemed to listen

as we whispered through the fields.


They knew the sins in our hearts

long before we made them flesh.


I crouched in their shadows avoiding

capture as my cousins hunted my location

like a pack of loosed blood hounds.


They tracked the murmur of my breathing

through the golden rows to my hideout,

the way they would hunt a wounded deer.


They shrieked in delight when they discovered me,

belly pressed into the roots, covered in manure.

We ran together, barefoot through the rows.


Some say our running designed crop circles,

the first in our township to make front page

headlines on the Daily Local News.


We half expected to see dead baseball players

walk out of the rows and join our rundown.

But ghost men never visited our field of dreams.


Our kingdom of vanishing was a sanctuary,

a sacred space for getting lost and saved

with each new game and searching hand.


Each time we emerged from silos of shadows,

rediscovered by young prophets with foresight,

we were reincarnated in a dust devil.


We played in our corn cathedral

as the dinner bell clanged and our parents

shouted our names in their hunting voices.


Some of us never came home

and are still playing in the field,

our long beards dragging the earth.




Christian Sammartino is the Editor-in-Chief of Rising Phoenix Review and the Poetry Editor for  L'Éphémère Review. He is currently studying philosophy at West Chester University. His poetry is influenced by life in the Pennsylvania Rustbelt near his hometown of Coatesville. His work has appeared in Words Dance, Voicemail Poems, Lehigh Valley Vanguard, Thirteen Myna Birds, Sea Foam Mag, and Yellow Chair Review. Sammartino was a Resident Poet for Lehigh Valley Vanguard during the summer of 2015. His first chapbook, Keystones, was released by Rising Phoenix Press in December 2014.

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