Sestina for the Heartland


What of the country, the heartland? The homeland is Kansas.
The thicket of my language grows forth from Kansas.
Owner, worker, and the wheat what bind them spring from Kansas.
Broken windows, stuttered sprinkler systems abide Kansas,
drafty windows and falling A/C units both make homes, temporary in Kansas.
High heel or step-stool—four inches toward the Lord, the Church of Kansas.

When we drive cross-country we draw a circle ’round Kansas.
When we fly, we fly over Kansas, we wave to Kansas
and Kansas preens its stalks, which wave in the warm emissions, and turns back to Kansas.
Kansas knows Oregon like it knows Maryland, which is to say it knows Kansas.
They grow corn in Kansas, grow children and Presidents in Kansas.
They grow corn and sky. They grow nighttime in Kansas.

Roadways pull the day along, flip it over when done. On the nightly news: Kansas.
The bloggers report on Kansas from their Kansas,
more Kansas than your Kansas, the Kansans report, the eggs of Kansas
rattle in agreement, brimming, blue-lit moons. In a straw poll of Kansas
it had the most straw, the whitest clouds. Come, see Kansas
and learn the topography of quo, says the mountained man in Kansas,

the wizard, the con-man, the goggles-brander who runs Kansas
his business, as some run out the state for the shore. And the shore of Kansas:
Delaware of tax laws, the exchange of Yuan that falls on the plains of Kansas
in sooty rain, state bishops and proprietors extol the variety of weeds in Kansas
that reach for each other across a traffic island. The state flower of Kansas
is nourished from a shallow grave, the state tree is History and is kept outside in Kansas.

The server flings its digital barbs from here, the sniff of gunpowder is Kansas.
The syntax of broadband parsing our emails is Kansas.
The body of the state bird, pinned in a dusty museum is Kansas.
The mirrored contact lens, the pupil unblinking and unpanning is Kansas.
The heart’s septum is Kansas.
The oxygenating, the red of blood and disturbed clay is Kansas.

When lost, we are found gagged and hooded in Kansas.
When there is grieving, the name repeats itself until we soothe to sleep: Kansas.
When the country comes together the fold creases the heart of Kansas
dark as thunder crumpling. This palm-line, this clock-spindle, this dagger Kansas.
Locus of self, of only, of home, Kansas
blanches, eats its own tail, ossifies, a ribcage arcing over dust, Kansas

is Kansas is Kansas is Kansas
is Kansas is Kansas is Kansas