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Ode to the Midwest by Kevin Young

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Ode to the Midwest

by Kevin Young

published in Poetry, July/August 2007

The country I come from Is called the Midwest —Bob Dylan

I want to be doused

in cheese

& fried. I want

to wander

the aisles, my heart's

supermarket stocked high

as cholesterol. I want to die

wearing a sweatsuit—

I want to live

forever in a Christmas sweater,

a teddy bear nursing

off the front. I want to write

a check in the express lane.

I want to scrape

my driveway clean

myself, early, before

anyone's awake—

that'll put em to shame—

I want to see what the sun

sees before it tells

the snow to go. I want to be

the only black person I know.

I want to throw

out my back & not

complain about it.

I wanta drive

two blocks. Why walk—

I want love, n stuff—

I want to cut

my sutures myself.

I want to jog

down to the river

& make it my bed—

I want to walk

its muddy banks

& make me a withdrawal.

I tried jumping in,

found it frozen—

I'll go home, I guess,

to my rooms where the moon

changes & shines

like television.

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