Inviting the Expanse
By Sondra Morin
“Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders...” -Carl Sandburg
Chicago is spiteful.
Its legs barrage through the alley
like an elephant charging a circus.
It takes your sleep, resilience and repose,
folds them into a breast plate compartment
you didn't know you had.
It lies by omission,
telling tales of poetic feuds since the 80's,
never reaching out or letting go.
It wears a yellow hat, a construction worker's gun,
takes no prisoners, leaves open wounds.
Its streets are slick with neighborhoods:
condo brick, unforgiving and gregarious.
It pulls you in, back straight, upright and determined,
masks the stale breath of an air of liberty.
Startles even the best of its citizens:
removes their badges, hides their skins.
It devours prostitutes, portrays the work of a benefactor:
a young girl disappears following the promise
of a 95th Street hotel, a boredom replaced
by a love spelled wrong.
It spits Lake Michigan back into itself,
measures water levels, reroutes systems, reverses rivers.
It lifts its shoulders, a beacon against the expanse,
one last leg of civilization before a slow crawl tractor
of wheat against the west and east,
says, "I’m not budging," when asked to give a little,
to support a common good.
Purports a political bias against Venezuelan gifts
returned for its stance on oil: a patriotism freezing houses.
It hammers you to sleep. Reminds you there's little good to be done,
that just you wait.
It expects the dawn each morning,
makes plans to plant a garden next summer,
and forgets to water the rhododendrons in spring.
About Sondra Morin