Map by Bruce Snider

There ought to be a fire somewhere in Indiana,
not this night across the fields in Indiana.

And God said let there be light, and there was light.
And God said let there be corn, and there was Indiana.

I kiss my love, taking his hand near the deer stand.
Honey is fragrant on the table, and there is thunder in Indiana.

And what of Amy Blaine, who drowned when she was twelve?
Nights, I feel her in the cold rain of Indiana.

For the rest of my life I’ll feel the wet hair plastered to her face.
I’ll feel darkness, and the magpie’s feathers in Indiana.

But I’m not interested in grief, just the sounds of the yellowthroat,
Just the warblers in the thickets of Muncie, Indiana.

I don’t need a communion wafer.
I need the autumn mist of Indiana.

Arcola, Goshen, Nappanee. Remember a place where the river bank
passes through you, where the Amish girls spread their skirts in Indiana.

Remember a place where spring breaks the yellow news of the pawpaw tree,
where the pan of grease hisses against a flame called Indiana.

Lord, the boys touch other boys, eating fried dough
and glazed apples, lips sticky with syrup and heat in Indiana.

Each winter, sleet turns the cornfield into a cemetery.
Its epitaph reads: Indiana.

My father’s pulse slows between systole and diastole,
between the frozen creek beds and the grain silos of Indiana.

And will you ask: where are the lilacs?
And I will answer: Under the snows of Indiana.

Soon, spring buds will thrust their sex organs into the mouths of bees.
Their story is the story of Indiana.

If there are a hundred ways to recall the dogwood in bloom,
this is the one where your parents make love on a battered sofa in Indiana.

Stamen and pistol, pollen in the air, the field of poppies knows lust
spell its name: I-N-D-I-A-N-A.

What’s death, after all, if not the Wabash wearing down river stones,
if not the muskrat flicking its damp tail in Indiana?

Are those angels’ trumpets? Is that God calling
Bruce? Have I reached the end of the world? Or Indiana?

This poem comes from Bruce Snider’s book Paradise, Indiana.

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To learn more about Bruce Snider, visit his website by clicking here, or visit his page on the Poetry Foundation’s website by clicking here.

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Do you wish to hear the author read the poem himself? Hear him pronounce “systole” and “diastole” correctly? Then click here!

Danielle spoke at length about The Poem’s Country: Place and Poetic Practice towards the end of the non-radio broadcast. Click here to purchase.

Below is a map with those three towns marked. Aside from them being in the northern section of the state, We found no greater mystery. You?

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