All the prettiest girls come from Michigan
It’s the Swedish bones. It’s the winter skin.
It’s thimbleberry and chokecherry
and footsteps, lonesome, through the snow
in their kisses.
All the prettiest girls, they will leave Michigan,
vowing that they never will return.
They drive to where the salt sticks to their skin
and they add their salt to oceans where
tears mean nothing.
All the prettiest girls look back on Michigan
to feel the ache and crack inside their bones
and the pale of apple blossom always withers
in the furnace of the sun, in the heartaches
of life under the bridge.
All the prettiest girls go back to Michigan.
They may stop at roadside attractions on the way
but the route leads only one way, ever homeward
back in time, in space, in the dreaming –
but not the still-beating heart.