Because that is where you were born—
next to the old milk barn, the one with the red roof.
You were given to believe from a young age,
that the farm didn’t wash off. That you’d always smell
like the cow you milked that morning
or the hay you baled over the weekend.
That the dust on your shoes exposed your class—
each under-bellied embarrassment from the social strata
that molded you. And, that farm–free people always
looked shinier than you, in their farm-free clothes.
But, there will come a time when you wear alfalfa,
like essential oil on your skin and walk into the wetlands
where the cows graze. You will reach toward the arbor
of grapes in the fall and pick them, willingly;
and make grape juice with mom. You will return to the farm
in winter with Great Horned Owl or in the spring
with the Canadian Geese. And when you get a little dust on your feet
you will look down and smile. You will carry the dust
back to the sterilized world, where cleanliness,
next to godliness, gratefully, becomes its own dead maxim.