Harsh indiscretions ring true
when skipped like stones
across cooling lava
until they sink into the molten rock.

“My windmill powers all of Northern Arkansas,
and I can prove it! Just drive
across the state (east to west)
and stop by every gas station you come across.
Kindly tell the attendant that Stanley F.
sent you to examine their power meter,
and they’ll gladly show you around the place.

“If they pretend not to know
what you’re talking about, that’s because
I’ve made an arrangement with the owner,
who likely hasn’t brought it up with their employees.

“If the attendant claims they’re also the owner,
get out of there right away. Chances are
they overthrew the previous owner
in a fit of violence after an argument
having to do with philosophical differences
as to how the town should be run.

“In the smaller communities, the gas station owner
also often holds public office, and you sure as hell
don’t want to get caught up in that whole
dog and pony show. Now, if you’ll excuse me,
I need to get back to my horse;
he’s been real morose lately, especially
if I leave him alone for more than ten minutes.”

A wild goose chase across the heartland
will yield only ambiguous notions of what power does
to impressionable and civic-minded individuals.


Author: Aidan Badinger I am a poet. I write poems. Titles and subjects and subsequent readership are all part of one fragmented figment of our universe, and it's nice that we take it so seriously. Hopefully the craft remains and grows stronger for our children.

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