The Geometry of the Plains

by Suzanna de Baca
Huxley, Iowa, United States

The geometry of the Plains
is deceptive. The repetitive
straight lines and perfect squares,
pristine fields. Corn in countless rows.
Lines of beans in right angles,
properly arranged rectangles,
an infinite patterns that seem to stretch
to the heavens, heavens which dip down
in vivid hues of blue and gray and white
and hug the horizon, interrupted only
by the occasional spire of a silo
or the crown of a water tower.

This is my house. From above
or from a distance, it appears ordered,
even, regular. A tidy habitat, groomed,
controlled. It smells clean and fragrant,
like freshly mowed hay.

But the geometry of the Plains
is deceptive. Beneath the level surface,
the house is alive. Roots, seeds, weeds
fighting for earth and air. Shoots, spores,
sprouts, grasping for rain and sun. Odors mix:
sweet ripeness combined with the continuous funk
of rotting and decay, as native grasses wait
to ambush innocent crops. Field stones
rise, wild and violent, squeezed out
by the bitter cold and the earth’s

I am like the Plains.
The ordered geometry conceals
what is below. Neat rows are not
what they seem. My house is irrepressible,
fervent and fierce as I try to grow,
to change, to adapt. Gasping for air,
shifting, shifting, reaching for the sun,
wild and changing, just under
the surface.
Suzanna C. de Baca is a native Iowan, proud Latina, publisher, author and artist who is passionate about exploring change, transformation and life in the Heartland.  A member of the Iowa Writers' Collaborative, she publishes poetry and personal essays in a variety of outlets. She lives in the small rural town of Huxley, Iowa, population 4,244.