Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I am not for Wisconsin

I should have loved Wisconsin more—
should have been one with the cows, tried to
understand the zen of grass and grazing,
the mantra of milk, the cow-pies sprinkled
in the chicory like approving punctuation.
When the long summer of sheep took me I
should not have pulled away from
the smell of wet wool, or the lambs,
or the grinding of sausage.  But I am not

for Wisconsin, nor could I marry
Michigan—with its maple syrup, 
and tie-dyed autumns, its forests
sliced open by six-lane highways
always delivering you to the souvenir shop
and the carved cedar toilet paper holders
of Tahquamenon Falls. 

A Dakota once grabbed me, but
it was only a passing fancy brought on
by an appreciation of dinosaurs in the distance
and the golden hair of the Corn Princess
in her Corn Palace.

I had a brief fling with Virginia, too,
but all we did was argue—
she had a way of turning every single sunset
into a political rant.  Now I see her only
briefly, passing through smoky parties
on the way to someone else’s mountains.

You may think I am for Ohio—after all,
we have lived comfortably in these
separate rooms for twenty years or more,
but I tell you it is never settled—
tomorrow I may go to Arizona.  Just
pack my things, plant the Amish buggies
in the Queen Anne’s Lace,
and like a stripped out steel mill, empty 
all my aspirations

into the Cuyahoga.

This poem was originally published in Georgetown Review, Spring 2007.