Chris Middleman

Penn State Harrisburg

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

they have three separate oldies stations

which makes complete sense Since the surrounding area is

frozen somewhere in the early 80s

Everyone drives a Cutlass Sierra On any one back road,

count the 100 mom & pop mulch shops

throwing elbows for space with unfinished furniture


That cater to homeowners,

bathing their yards and back sheds

with sickly pale floodlight

Those lamps burn atop garage doors like hex signs

The residents, never content to let

night just do what it’s supposed to

But the sky remains untouched

Sometimes you can’t tell where

it meets the sprawl of trees

I was grateful for that and for the oldies

because the associated goodtime nostalgia

kept me sane through two years

of dollar store dust

professors with inflated self-worth

and the twin tombstone cooling towers

of Three Mile Island

looming large on the horizon

Like graduation in May

Chris Middleman
began writing almost ten years ago during a blackout in his hometown of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Currently living in Boston, his work has appeared in issues of Perigee, The CommonLine Project, and The Orange Room Review.