Home is hollow but beached and crafty, down in the mucket the bucket of crawdaddies. How is home a lilt, box of squares of Sonic drive-in, french fries and everything with bacon. Hang my hat on the county line, the one they’d cross each Sunday to buy beer, bible syncopation understepping days. Sun was harsher then: each July saw reddened shoulders, blisters if I wasn’t careful, a clay-bottomed lake that squished between my toes.
Why, when I write about home, is it always summer, never fall, never spring. Transitions gone just one solid bar of I don’t remember those times. Just the cemetery, the fresh flowers and headstones, me sitting on the mausoleum steps with cigarettes, the horror stories someone’s older cousin would tell us about rabbits nailed to cottonwood trees.
Where is home except Kansas, even now with these roots in the Puget Sound, home of the rare six-gilled shark. Even now that my skin pales beyond the white and turns on the cloud-covered axis of mist and Douglas Fir. Where Mount Rainier threatens to blow her top.
How is home carried like red dirt in my bones. How is the hand held up as a stop sign the emblem of my memory. How do the crickets keep creaking away, and here in my coastal city I can’t stop longing for the Kansas winter night, the cold certainty of the stars, my breath finally visible.
Why does my homeland feel like the chunkest blocks of real, concrete and coke bottles and bottle rockets and trailers and brown-watered fishing holes and fried chicken. Plainfaced plainspoken people, the plains, gingham, fields, green alfalfa, endless lonely highways, country music, 4-H in the high schools. Now, not then, creationism is taught in the schools and sex ed is abstinence-only. They still dissect frogs, swallow rapes, huddle around tailgates in the parking lot of football games.