An Open Letter to Everyone Asking Why I Always Come Back to

— Patricia Liu

Oklahoma. Here, where I learn to pronounce
              crayon as crown, to place broadleaf weeds
              on our grass stained knees with
              honeysuckles under our tongues, where I
Keep in touch with my neighbors by
              sending Saturday morning postcards
              of Route 66 from the gas station
              a good day’s bike ride away, where I
Leave the afternoon for last minute changes,
              change the coffee pot, black for the
              mailman, even though he has lost
              the newspaper again, spare some change for
Another church bucket full of prematurely
              abandoned fountain coins and free
              gospel tracts, where every travelling gun show
              is held among the remnants of a book sale.
Here, where the sky turns my window sepia
              before a storm—the flower shop ladies say
              only God could have done that, and
              I’ve forgotten the feeling before ruin.
On every street corner is a white-haired pedestrian
              reminding all who will listen that our state
              has seen more astronauts than any other;
              our soles, more red dirt and settlement.
My parents want to visit every state park before they die.
              They’ve lived here 34 years, yet every weekend,
              they find new forests and mountains
              to be buried in. I think I will spread their
Ashes across each X on their map. Oklahoma
              does not have to prove itself to me.
              Here, where passersby will be nostalgic
              for a country they’ve never lived in.

Read more from Issue No. 10 or share on Twitter.