Our Rustbelt Hometown Has Been Shrinky-Dinked 

by Clancy Tripp

          • OUR RUSTBELT HOMETOWN HAS BEEN SHRINKY-DINKED

            into talking points again & my heartland pride is acid-washed and cuffed

          • and worth more worn ironically & I’ve reverse yellow-brick-roaded from
          • the big city to this speedlimitless backroad & these gold-drunk sycamores
          • & we don’t crank out speedsters anymore so The Crossroads of America
          • just means Keep On Passing Through. I’m used to it. We’re children of the
          • dent corn & the bonafides atop our bestsellers declaring our lives “stark!”
          • and “bracing!” come two to a pack like toothbrushes & yes we have those.
          • Still my shift clutching my sorry little head in my “bleak!” and “grim!”
          • hands outside grubby shutdown factories doesn’t start for a few more hours
          • & I don’t punch in until sunrise at the assembly line where we cry chunky
          • tears of praline pie & lost opportunity into little Pyrex tubes to mail to the
          • shiny-haired Democrats & so I have time to tell you that when two things
          • that were once in contact remain so even after they’re far apart it’s called
          • sympathetic magic & I’ve got divine correspondence with my neck of the
          • woods & when we grasp each other’s collars from far flung towns that’s
          • charm at a distance. If I brewed potions I’d stir in our tree frogs’ spring
          • chirp & if I had a talisman it’d be a Dyngus Day pussywillow branch & if I
          • had a poppet I’d tuck her in under an album quilt I pieced myself & the truth
          • is that leaving home is like sea monkeys; it looks nothing like we were
          • promised.
Clancy Tripp is a Midwest-based writer, graphic artist, and humorist. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Catapult, Electric Literature, Ninth Letter, Slice, The Rumpus, and Reductress. She has won the 2020 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction and the 2021 Witness Literary Award in Nonfiction. Find her on Twitter @TheUnrealTripp or online at www.ClancyTripp.com