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Pennsylvania

Waiting for the tornado warning to pass, fooling around in the basement stairwell. The boys thought the shine through my glasses gave me laser eye.

The Prompt today is to title a poem the name of a state or territory or province. I’m not sure how much I have to say about my state.

Pennsylvania

I think of quartzite. Lots of it.
Winking in the sun as if it has a message
to send in Morse code. And limestone,
the bubbled rock, prone to give way
in sudden sinkholes. And schist and mica
and the nuggets of limonite, compelling in their squareness.
South of here, the serpentine,
a stone that holds within itself
maps of Earth’s geologic history.

The woods are no longer Penn’s,
and really, they weren’t his to divide in the first place,
cutting and marking the places
where Manifest Destiny would make spaces
for colonists to conquer. Even my gentle Mennonites
were not blameless.

On this side of the Alleghenies,
everything runs to the Susquehanna,
and thence to the Bay, and then to the ocean.
Cabin creek begins as a spring somewhere
above us on the ridge, and flows right to the river.

(I can’t figure out where this is going, and I need to go to bed. So it’s a fragment tonight.)

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