Big Bridge #10

Export: Writing the Midwest


Kristy Bowen



It's a vocabulary of old country
songs, unfaithful women
and open roads, a scratchy
vinyl itching in her thighs.
This fear of swimming pools
and gas station bathrooms.

Who can sleep in a red room?
Walls, curtains, sheets
scarlet and loud as a hundred
whores in a bar, crimson
as the inside of her mouth.
All night she whispers
I want...I want...into
the crook of his arm,
runs her fingers along
the bridge of his spine.

Here, evening sticks
in your throat, makes its way
into your vowels. The men in
parking lots smell of sorghum
and slow gin; a pretty girl
needs a ditch to lie down in,
a witch to brush the milkweed
from her hair. It's a danger

how her knees gleam in the
medicine cabinet's stale
phosphor, her legs spread
pale against the dingy tub,
her body like a lake at the bottom,
rocky, and not meant for swimming.

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