Midwestern College Town: Decatur, Illinois

Earth spreads out around its brick proud ivory
towers and old neighborhood mansions, beneath small

box businesses, run-down dusty houses and four factories.
Outside, wide fields and leaning barns. Low white winter

sky over all.  A shaggy earnest student waiter with pizza
shifts foot to foot, sweet eyed, guesses you’re not

from around here anymore, and the proud
father in orange Illini sweatshirt, clapping

at the open mic, turns to you with smiling
eyes, inquiring, tell me where you are

from. His landlocked twang lies low
to earth, a warm midwestern fondling

of words and slow, thoughtfully round
as a brown clay pot waiting to be filled

with your story, eager to fill you with the
rich soil of his bright son’s cornfed dreams.

2011

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