Sean Lause – Midwest Photographs – 3

Midwest Photographs
by Sean Lause

Railroads collapsed
arteries, factories
abandoned beehives.

Broken bridges, ghost hotels,
a man who sells balloons
in all the colors of memory.

A sign: gas,
cigs, lottery,
beer.

A drunk outside
the Utopia Bar
sings of lost kingdoms.

Beneath Yankee skies,
Confederate flags
for sale.

An old Black man
bends to retrieve
a lucky penny.

Schools named Liberty,
Freedom and Hope.
Children enslaved to despair.

Morning dew,
blood and rust,
tighten your belt another notch.

Now people
peer through windows
and steal moments from each other’s lives.

Life goes on
in another town,
another room, always.

Sean Lause is a professor of English at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. His poems have appeared in The Minnesota Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Illuminations, and Poetry International. He has published three books of poetry: Bestiary of Souls (FutureCycle Press, 2013), Wakeful Fathers and Dreaming Sons (Orchard Street Press, 2018) and Midwest Theodicy (Taj Mahal Review, 2019).