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Blight

Sad Indianapolis

I go to the movie theatre
to look at the rows of exit lights

just to feel like I’m landing in my life.

I tried to pull the world back
from the explosion;

but it is snowing;

the sky looks like
falling ash.

Each morning I stitch together
a moment, say,

the muted
light around a bowl of peaches,

but soon the junior
senator in me so timidly casts
his vote for desire

I can barely pour the milk.

Sad Indianapolis, famous
only for a race

that comes once a year,
the noise so loud it evacuates
the head briefly
and orderly

like a fire drill; then it all returns:

worries, regrets,
Yvonne, the hilltop, endless strip-
mall parking lots

where I would sit
as a teenager, the tongue
of the world on my battery,
and feel a huge, yet exact

emptiness, as if someone
were unfolding thousands of
little origami cranes in my chest.

This is a thankless town. You could burn
it and it would look better.

But still my heart
still wins, its penny slots

sometimes just walking
the neighborhood, admiring leaves:

How do I say this?

What I want is some ugly little
animal to be invented,
unloved, unnecessary

to represent
what can’t be

put back in order. To live in place
of where I live.

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Frank Montesonti is the author of Blight, Blight, Blight, Ray of Hope (Barrow Street Press), and the chapbook A Civic Pageant (Black Lawrence Press, 2009). He has been published in literary journals such as Tin HouseBlack Warrior ReviewAQRPoet Lore, and Poems and Plays, among many others. His second full-length collection, Hope Tree, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2014. He has an MFA from the University of Arizona and teaches poetry at National University. A longtime resident of Indiana, he now lives in Los Angeles, California.