Michael Lee Johnson

STORY POEMS: In The Telling

Indiana Poem

Breaking loose from the state line
of Illinois, bursting down the Indiana
toll road, near Lake Station
heading south,
smelling smoke of old
gray steel mills
seeping out
of Gary,
left behind me,
steel men, strong men,
ribs of fire, courage of
union dreamers,
long gone, most laid off,
pension plans stolen,
now gas station employees,
travelers of the
past, snuff chewers,
and labor wages —
small lakes and fishing ponds
with half-sunken boats
with tips pointed sky high,
and memories dripping
off the lips of clouds.
I'm banging out 75 mph,
in my raspberry Geo Tracker,
but as Jesus said: "I tell you
the truth, nothing ever changes in
Indiana but the seasons
and the size of the corn ears."