Neruda in Indiana” by Mike Gavin


He palms an artichoke
and walks through these homes,

whose hallways and cellars
are void

of all poetic impulse.  
It is in his trench coat

pocket, and when he walks through one Indiana
home then the next, each infested

with its private history,
he tips his

hat, careful not to squint
or scowl at the darkness of the past

that lurks within,
and clicks the door

shut as he walks out into night
air more empty

than the slick
hollow of a broken

heart.  He palms his artichoke as he
walks through cornfields

harvested upon the dead
bodies of the Cherokee, Potowattami.

He thinks to
himself that Indiana is

not a place for a poet.
No, Indiana is a place where

history and politics,
like the homes, are vacant.  

And what poem can be written
of that?