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]

us forever.

 

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.

The Midwest is a [Place/Bruise]
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