by Michael Escoubas

And they asked me

“What do you miss most
about Illinois?”

So I replied,

“Driving through farm country in late autumn
when corn and soybeans have been gleaned

from the fields, and the eye can see forever,
and the prairie stretches as far as the east

is to the west, and the earth holds forth her arms
like a lover, pulling me to her breast, immersing

me in Black Prairie soil, whispering like a zephyr,
Stay with me awhile, this is where you belong.

With the harvest in, and leaves gold, red and brown
carpet the ground and the first chill of winter

fills the late autumn air, I miss this sweet life,
as I lift a prayer amid the glare of city lights.”

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