This place where plats are square
and homes sit a mile apart as if
to avoid prying ears of folks who swear
they don’t repeat gossip so they’re
only going to say this once.
Where trees were planted generations ago
as windbreaks for thirty mile-an-hour
winds that people refer to as a breeze,
but whatever you want to call it
bites hard in March, picking up
dirt and grit from fallow fields
to deposit in snow banks
that grow each day without gaining
much interest from folks
who’ve been watching this play out
longer than they want to recall.
I need to return to diners where sausage
is a food group and people die of ham.
Where meatloaf, mashed potatoes,
gravy, creamed corn all touch on the plate
and everything lies as flat as this land
instead of at a forty-five-degree angle
decorated with a sprig of parsley.
Where the waitress calls me darlin’
twice within one minute of my arrival,
where Rotary meets the third Thursday
of the month and the vegetarian specials,
tossed and green bean salad, are loaded
with bacon bits. This place where
there are exactly five Democrats
in the county and three of them are
having breakfast at the table across from mine,
wearing seed caps, down vests,
chortling over whatever the guy
with the oxygen tank is reading
from his cellphone, all the while
eating their biscuits and gravy
so thick that you can twirl it on
your fork, coffee as black as the earth
that the tractors are plowing in the fields.