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After Sandburg

ISSUE:  Spring 1976


The belly of the city swells with trains.
Stitched in her side the stockyards’ heartburn
carbonates the river’s throat.

She lifts her foxy dunes,
parades lakeside and stateside,
whores a little in the board of trade.

Her iron fingers pierce the yellow smog:
naked crosses, steel cigars
belching manna wholesale,
each finger warming its nail
in blackmarket sunshine.

Asphyxiated fish silver her breast.
Freeways spill a septic discharge.
Yet she dines with the wind, oblivious,
tossing a brassy laugh
over a welded shoulder.

The gulls pick and choose.
She blows a kiss of soot,
Chicago wheeling and swinging
her plundered hips,
tarnished but radiant,
whistling her own hosannas.


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