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Welcome to Pleasant Bluff

It's not unpleasant here. The chicken plants
and car plants grow like plants. Here, all the sames
are different, though a hell-bent countenance
persists in yards still plugging past elections
and latticed propane tanks. Here, names (like Jerry
of Jerry's Rigs) mean business; football games

mean war. Here, kids attend Dead President
Primary, right off Bigwig Avenue,
and strip malls flank the Holy Testament
(whose latest message, God's grace gives us rage!,
has lost the c-o-u); the new Corrections
Department borders Three Sons Barbeque

(run by two moms). Here, downtown is disguised:
the old PO a bank. The gallery
that used to be a mill, now capitalized
The Mill, sells space and photographs of mills.
Here, progress means, ostensibly, a stage
of reclamation, from topography

to toponymy. But since the genius lies
in places, not in names, here, once you're there,
you'll lack an actual to actualize,
finding no oaks in Oakmont Cemetery
and only shops in Walnut Square, no hills
in Eden Hills, no Eden—anywhere.

Caki Wilkinson

The Kenyon Review

Winter 2014

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