Some thoughts about the Midwest, a.k.a why I think about leaving but am probably here to stay

It’s night in rural Michigan and the red light indicating a train is approaching blinks incessantly. Beyond my car corn fields carpet this stretch of land. An abandoned barn house peeling white paint, a  rusting carburetor on its lawn.  Not far a dog shakes a chain link fence and lets out a rough bark while a plastic Sprite bottle lazily rolls toward a sewer. To the south, Toledo. To the East, Detroit. Between that the blinking red light in Milan, Michigan. Cities themselves rusting from the inside out, though I’d always fought back against anyone who claimed to know that for a fact. Sitting in my car, I daze into the eye of the red light, an oppressively comfortable moment. Lonesome and flat, hearty and wholesome at once. The sound of blackbirds cawing and earthworms burrowing in the cool September evening.  Somewhere close folks glow blue from their T.V. screens. The smell of garbage bags freshly tossed to the curb sweetly rotting somewhere in the distance.  The train barrels by, a blur of graffiti going somewhere new.  How familiar a moment,  how restless my foot on the brake.


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