The Midwest gets its hooks in you
like a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Built on the most complacent of virtues,
she tries to convince you
(like every mother does)
that she loves you.
calls a disembodied voice outside of a Culver’s
in rural Wisconsin.
We eat our lunch anyway.
I wait for you outside the restroom
rehearsing what I’ll call him
if he’s brave enough to show his face.
Men are dumb,
I say as my finger finds the switch to lock
all the doors in the car.
is all you say.
There is something undeniably
about the malice in the Midwest.
Among the cornfields and the churches,
the coyote on the golf course
doesn’t hold half the menace
of the full-sized confederate flag
on the back of the neighbor’s pickup.
We pay sixty dollars for two tickets
to a place said to be holy
by a white man who only writes about goddesses
who are fuckable.
The sprawling halls of the House on the Rock do not contain enough people
to fill the cars in the parking lot.
Exoticised parodies of my grandmother’s features line every other room.
(But not really her features,
of course. Orientalism has no use for second-generation immigrants,
By the time we leave my stomach is roiling
like water dropped in oil.
That’s a long way away, says
your father our coworker the cashier
when we say we’re moving to Montana.
is an act of violence.