February 2, 2016

A Poem By Alice Jane-Marie Massa: "Immigrant from Indiana"

After earning master’s degrees from Indiana State University and Western Michigan University and teaching for 25 years, Alice Jane-Marie Massa retired from teaching writing and public speaking at a Wisconsin technical college.  Alice invites you to visit her blog:  http://alice13wordwalk.wordpress.com, where she posts her poetry, essays, short stories, recipes, or memoirs each Wednesday.  Her writings on Wordwalk frequently focus on her guide dogs, her Hoosier hometown of Blanford (25 miles northwest of Terre Haute), her Italian family heritage, and holidays.  Recently, her writings have also appeared in Magnets and Ladders, Newsreel (audio magazine), Dialogue, and The ACB Braille Forum.  Being the current president of Behind Our Eyes (an international group of writers with disabilities) also fills hours of her retirement.  Away from her desk, Alice most enjoys long walks with her third Leader Dog (Zoe), container gardening, and the television program Jeopardy.

Immigrant from Indiana

I am an immigrant from Indiana.
In 1991, for a very good job,
I was planted here
in this Land of Wisconsin.
Between the shores of Lake Michigan
and the drawbridges over the Milwaukee River,
my plant--a perennial--
has blossomed each of 24 years
with those beautiful blooms
of Nostalgia.

I have been told
that my blossoms
have Hoosier accents
and that the leaves are shaped
like the nineteenth state.
The fragrance of this perennial plant
changes from sweet clover to grapes,
from the smells of an Italian kitchen to the scent of an Indiana autumn.

I am fortunate
because my Nostalgia plant even blooms
in the bleakest of blizzards,
during a freezing fog,
in the midst of dry leaves
taking flight in a high wind.

My Nostalgia plant
has the most brilliant blooms
during the singing of "Back Home Again in Indiana"
at the opening ceremonies of the Indy 500 Race,
during Clinton's Little Italy Festival
over Labor Day Weekend,
during Parke County's Covered Bridge Festival
in mid October,
and most especially
during the holiday season.

"How often do you water this plant
you call Nostalgia?" a stranger asks.
"How much rain is required?"
The only moisture it requires is
the tears for my homeland--
my Indiana.

"How deep do you plant
this Nostalgia?" the stranger persists.
For the best results,
I planted
my sweet Nostalgia
just as deep as
my heart.

 ~Alice Jane-Marie Massa

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