Elkhart, Indiana (a pantoum)

(First published in The Rag, Spring 2012)

 

She’s checking for the soul of her Indiana town

in the obits of the Truth every morning.

Oakland Avenue just hasn’t been the same

since they closed down Judd’s and turned off the fountain.

 

In the obits of the Truth every morning

Grandma sees girls she knew at the factory.

Since they closed down Judd’s and turned off the fountain,

there are no punch presses resisting stagnation.

 

Grandma sees girls she knew at the factory,

and she tucks their funeral cards into her purse.

There are no punch presses resisting stagnation,

since jobs disappeared and machines slowed down.

 

As she tucks their funeral cards into her purse,

she purses her lips to think of her own.

Since jobs disappeared and machines slowed down,

city alone drags forward, forgotten.

 

She purses her lips to think of her own

love gone now like the boat on St. Joe.

City alone drags forward, forgotten,

but dirty river flows on for the young and the bored.

 

Love gone now like the boat on St. Joe,

Oakland Avenue just hasn’t been the same.

Dirty river flows on for the young and the bored,

still she’s checking for the soul of her Indiana town.