Tully and I each slump into a wooden rocker and kick off our muddy boots. I flick my glowing plait over my shoulder, sigh at the task at hand. Aunt Mona had, moments before, wrangled us inside only to send us to the front porch to shuck dinner's corn.
"'s'lot of corn," I say, gazing beyond the bucket to the open fields, and then further, to the trees at the start of the thicket. I think of the watermelon, half carved in the kitchen, wipe the sweat from my brow, "'s'lot of sun."
Tully picks up a piece of corn, runs one finger along the corn silk sticking out of the top, then rubs it under her chin. She lowers it, yanks the green husk away to reveal the soft yellow glow below.
"Looks like gold," she says, twisting the freshly peeled ear before my eyes.
"Or dandelion seeds," I say. She tosses the corn into the empty bucket, picks up another piece from the porch, hands it to me.
"Think we'll ever get to leave?" she asks.
We can hear Uncle Benny and the boys hootin' out back. Mamma and Delly are inside with the Aunts. G.G. is asleep on the rocker beside us, her curling red hair the spitting image of mine.
I think of our little school, where our Mamma's went; where some of our teachers were their teachers, where some of our teachers were their grade-school friends.
"Like, move into town?" I say. She shakes her head side to side.
It's hard to imagine anything past town, past the river to the west, past the mountains' blue peaks. I think of the settlers in their wagons they told us about in school. Imagine a vast wilderness and surprise snakes. I think of people so strange and beautiful, their tongues speaking words written with the winds.
I think of the grains, golden, blowing in dance behind the house I've always known. Think of the trees whose heartbeats I know like I know my own. Think of Mamma and Delly and the Aunties and the Uncles, who I see each day, who together raised this family.
I can't begin to justify our leave, isn't what we have here all that we need? "But, our family."
Tully doesn't hear, her eyes are far-off as she tugs on the ear she holds in her hands. When Gran taps her feet, then starts humming a tune, I hum too, Tully doesn't move.