The Rains of Kansas

A car driver's view of a sprawling city from the freeway with the plains of Kansas in the background, dark grey storm clouds gathering ominously in the wide blue sky.

The rains of Kansas
smell like wet leather
and agriculture.
In the winter all you can smell is frost.

Half my life ago I was a boy
and I left the plains
for a grander life in the city.
But the prairie breeze never left the boy.

Mittens, Kentucky

An old, hand-drawn map of Kentucky on wrinkled, browned paper. In the upper corner, the words "There's no such place as Mittens, Kentucky" are furiously circled in red. Melancholy notes are scrawled all around the map, which is adorned with pictograms and doodles of indeterminate significance.

There’s no such place as Mittens, Kentucky
and every single person you ask for directions will tell you so.
The car smells of a thousand miles
of beef jerky and no air conditioning,
and the back seat is a museum
of empty plastic soda bottles
and all the crumpled road maps that haven’t helped so far.