Before we took exit [226 / 115] off of State Highway [69 / 70]
we thought America was [ alive / fathomless],
which is to say, not consumed by
[metal / grass] and [ apathy / wonder].
Every local [diner / bakery / movie theater / small business]
that suckled us was [well loved / carved up]
last week and a new chain moved in
to [numb / fuck] our mothers and fathers.
Before we moved off to [university /corporate jobs] and
found a [home / better pain] there, we thought
that the Midwest would [nurse / absorb]
Which is to say, we are consumed by [potential / failure]
and [empathy / pity]. There is so much
[trajectory / trigger] in America, so much
we could never talk about it all.
But before we took exit [226 / 115] off of State Highway [69 / 70],
we thought America would keep us
[connected / lonely]. We thought nothing
would ever be [hollow / holy].
Abby Johnson is a poet and a Hoosier who is proud of the local art scene that fostered her. She is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing through Butler University. She is interested in the affect of Middle America on the voices of those who live there. She has work published in Sixfold Journal, Turnpike Magazine, and Josephine Quarterly. She has work forthcoming in Bear Review.