Autumn McClintock

To Pennsylvania
with thanks to Lisa Jarnot

You meager lost state.
You, dog with a tail between your legs.
You blue state of dirty cities.

You keystone,
lover of the middle.
You ignored child.

Not poor or rich or lively. Your Liberty Bell:
broken, tongue-tied cow. You of
rolling hills, of Amish

and Mennonites in the fields, the rolling fields
gold with corn. You sea-less creature.
You long divided by the Susquehanna.

Your bit of Lake Erie. You holding hands
with Ohio and Trenton, kneeling on Maryland.
You having a quick affair with Delaware, your tiny friend.

You kissing New York and kissing her and kissing her
along her pale spine. All between, among,
surrounded, you, Pennsylvania.

Of routes and skyscrapers, downed planes
in broad expanses, of 6 hours to cross you,
of long restless rides. Of ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer,

(oh dead highway, oh fur and bones across the highway)
of ladybug and firefly, brook trout, mountain laurel,
of eastern hemlock, waving.  Coal state, steel state,

state of our own sorrow. You, Pennsylvania
raising up and holding us, you nurturing and
wasting us. I love you. I love you.


Autumn McClintock

Autumn McClintock lives in Philadelphia and works at the public library. Poems of hers have recently appeared in or are forthcoming from Carolina Quarterly, Citron Review, The Collagist, Redivider, RHINO, THRUSH, and Weave Magazine, among others. Her essay, “Responsible for Death,” appears in the anthology The Poet’s Sourcebook, published by Autumn House Press (no relation) in 2013. She is on the poetry editorial staff of Ploughshares.