Archives for posts with tag: Indiana

How to See the World: Hunger
by Paula J. Lambert

When I first moved from Massachusetts to Indiana
I didn’t know how to see the flat black fields stretching

all around me as anything but oceans of mud. It took
time to understand the lay of that land, its change

of season, and that newly turned soil as black as that
held every promise of richness, newness, nourishment,

food. I began to see it wasn’t quite flat, that not all the
soil was so dark, that every rise or mounding, every

possible shade of brown was a different kind of soil,
meant for a different kind of planting. But while it was

still new to me, when I felt the first pangs of homesick,
a wanting that has never left, I sat down on the edge of

one of those fields next to the man I knew by now I was
destined to marry (still blessedly ignorant I was destined,

too, to divorce him) and gestured hopelessly across the
landscape. There’s nothing to see here. Nothing to look at.

The bleakness of what stretched around us matched
only the bleakness of what was inside. To his credit, he

didn’t lash out or take my observation as insult. He said
one of the few things I ever thought wise or helpful.

I’ve been to the mountains, he said, and I also thought there
was nothing to see. Those mountains were always in the way.

PHOTO: Cornfield and the Milky Way, Greenfield, Indiana. Photo by Eric Fleming on Unsplash.

NOTE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER: When I stayed at a working farm outside of Indianapolis, I knew I wanted to take photos of the Milky Way while I was there. I was hoping for a clear sky but it was pretty cloudy this night, I took this shot during a short break in the clouds. I had the cornfield in my head before I took this shot because I thought it was a great representation of rural Indiana.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is one of four “How to See the World” poems in a collection by the same title, published in September 2020 by Bottom Dog Press as part of their Harmony Series. “How to See the World: Hunger” is the first of the four, the rest are “Thirst,” “Fire,” and finally, “Breath.” They are meant to correspond with the elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Air. The full collection was written in the spring and early summer of 2020 when we first self-quarantined and then stayed put. The poems were largely a sort of “how to get through the day” meditative response to the pandemic, though, as kindly written by Rose M. Smith in one of the book’s blurbs, they are about much more: how interconnected we all are while teetering at the brink of change… “How to See the World: Hunger” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Lambert.Author Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paula J. Lambert of Columbus, Ohio, has authored several collections of poetry including How to See the World (Bottom Dog Press 2020). Recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards and two Greater Columbus Arts Council Resource Grants, she has twice been in residence at Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She owns Full/Crescent Press, a small publisher of poetry books and broadsides through which she has founded and supported numerous public readings and festivals that support the intersection of poetry and science. Learn more at Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

State Road 13
by Barry Harris

Riding back from a Thanksgiving Sunday town
in a fifty-two Packard
leaving the pumpkins and apples
appropriately in two places,
the town and my child’s mind
as I ride farther down the road into a new moment.

The November sun hanging at the edge
of the brown dirt farmland.
My father slowly driving and telling
of some other sunset years past
and I not yet thinking I could hold
all the knowledge of the sky in my small head.

That road aimed straight as a lance
between two towns except for one gracious curve,
a mile-long tender arc
which I loved for its simple feeling of change.
Along the way corn shocks stood like field sentinels
among the dim-lighted homes and derelict schoolhouses
standing like Hoosier shipwrecks.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author in his elementary school photograph at age seven in 1955.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was written remembering Saturday afternoon drives with my father to my grandmother’s house about 20 miles away down Indiana State Road 13.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barry Harris is editor of the Tipton Poetry Journal and has published one poetry collection, Something At The Center. Barry lives in Brownsburg, Indiana, and is retired from Eli Lilly and Company.  A graduate of Ball State University with a major in English, Barry was founding editor of Tipton Poetry Journal, which has been published in print and online versions since 2004. In 2009, he helped found Brick Street Poetry, Inc., a nonprofit organization that now publishes Tipton Poetry Journal, hosts Poetry on Brick Street, and sponsors poetry-related events. His poetry has appeared in Saint Ann’s Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Night Train, Hiss Quarterly, Cherry Blossom Review, Flying Island, Lily, The Centrifugal Eye, Flutter Poetry Journal, Wheelhouse Magazine, Houston Literary Review, Snow Monkey and Writers’ Bloc, and in these anthologies: Twin Muses: Art and Poetry and From the Edge of the Prairie.



by Jean Shepherd

It was late November and the Christmas fever was well upon me. I thought about a Red Ryder air rifle in all my waking hours, seven days a week, in school and out. I drew pictures of it in my Reader, in my Arithmetic book, on my hand in indelible ink, on Helen Weathers’ dress in front of me, in crayon. For the first time in my life the initial symptoms of genuine lunacy, of Mania, set in.

I imagined innumerable situations calling for the instant and irrevocable need for a BB gun, great fantasies where I fended off creeping marauders burrowing through the snow toward the kitchen, where only I and I alone stood between our tiny huddled family and insensate Evil. Masked bandits attacking my father, to be mowed down by my trusted cloverleaf-sighted deadly weapon. I seriously mulled over the possibility of an invasion of raccoons, of which there were several in the county. Acts of selfless Chivalry defending Esther Jane Alberry from escaped circus tigers. Time and time again I saw myself a miraculous crack shot, picking off sparrows on the wing to the gasps of admiring girls and envious rivals on Cleveland Street. There was one dream that involved my entire class getting lost on a field trip in the swamps, wherein I led the tired, hungry band back to civilization, using only my Red Ryder compass and sundial. There was no question about it. Not only should I have such a gun, it was an absolute necessity!