Justin Runge Dear Nebraska

Start your engines.
Spit-shine your barrels.
Snip the red scraggles
from your fecund face.
Embrace. Give two pats
on the back and release.
Nebraska, your heart
is a pirogi in the bowl
of your barrel chest.
Your women are wise.
Scrape their windshields
with your bare hands.
Start their engines. Dear
Nebraska, fake teeth
fall into your brown grass
like spent shotgun shells.
Songs like the bullets
of a start pistol, song-
sized holes shot through
the barely blue sky of you.
A family follows its dog
into your only forest, eats
goose on Christmas, falls
asleep. A highway cuts
you in two, to the sea.
You'll never be a shore,
Nebraska. Your ocean
is an underground body.


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