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Midwestern Soul

May 20, 2017


I have a Midwestern soul

No fast-talkingwalking pace

but no warmlazydrawl with sugar in it either

Just plainspeaking truth laced with an offered hand

Amid flyover forests of corn tassel tops baking in July heat

I came of age in vast back yards of dandelion crabgrass

filled with cicadas and whirring lawn mowers

Knew all my neighbors’ names

Quiet people working outside

who watched us walk to school and back

Dependably bought from our school catalogs

Cheap ugly candles and stale candy that they did not eat

And we could count on them to watch us grow

Not all suspicious…more like sharp

Aware of missteps that we should not make

And people whom we should not trust

But trusting all the same (except for some)

Which pains me still, a scar upon this place that does not fade

I have a Midwestern soul

My home will welcome traveling friends

With dinner table food and talk and crisp white sheets tucked in just so

I’ll hug a new acquaintance without fear

And search for common ground

Because it’s right

Not every crop that grows here comes up strong

But people strive to weed and to forgive

Most understand the simple things to plant

Food and faith and family, all in rows

fenced safe with wind breaks

Work hard from dawn till dusk and help your neighbors first;

there’s always time

Some slow Midwestern voice reminds me quietly

From coast to coast the breaking news all sounds the same discordant howl

The middle may just be the place to meet

We all may find we have Midwestern souls


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