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Culture Shock by Janet I. Buck
published in Volume 6, Issue 4 on December 31st, 1999

I got a job in a fancy city,
and the raise giggled 
in my pocket mind.
My favorite aunt bought me 
a real mink coat for snazz
eventualities like operas
or some symphony.
Polyester wistfulness
not tied to threads of DC smog.
I was too young to fathom 
the bars on every window 
close enough for flesh to touch.
Moving from the Okie dust bowl
thick as gummy Sunday oatmeal
winding with the country roads--
faithful braids, horsesí manes,
bandanna flags, sweat for evening aperitif.
No piercing headlights of a city 
brighter than a forest fire.
Traffic isnít noticeable when hands
are waving at old friends.

No old gals, here, grabbed their mail
with pink foam curlers dangling 
from their happy clocks.
Gauze of urban oil too thick
to swim a conversation in.
Smiles requested altitude;
we turned them down like chicken soup.
Dark dropped curtains;
people kissed their t.v. sets.
A tree house and a tumbleweed
were stoplights smacking inching trucks.
Silence was the loudest part.
I dreamt of porch swings creaking 
in the mealy wind--nosy neighbors 
peaking over broken fences,
field mice gnawing in old barns,
church bells smearing avid prayer,
a picnic growing as I watched
like squares that fit a quilting bee.

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