Rootbeer, pickle relish, tacos. The sound of a front porch screen door slapping on its sprung hinges. Choruses of June bugs accompanying firefly acolytes in a sanctuary of summer twilight. Thunderstorms. National parks. Distances. Corn.
Rivers of a proper size and people who use their car horns and raiding mulberry trees. Singing Battle Hymn of the Republic as part of a large, harmonious choir. Sundays that mean something.
A decent doughnut with a bottomless cup of coffee. Diners, truck stops, service. Taking a Greyhound bus across endless miles of straight road. The sound of the letter R. Submarine sandwiches of architectural size and shameless self-belief.
The people who have known me and loved me since birth. Closets. Skunks. Flags.
Ducks made of calico at shopping mall craft shows. The county fair. My mother’s cheesecake and my father’s houseplants. The friends who grew up with me. “God bless you.”
Mark Twain one man shows, country music radio, roadmaps based on geometry. Saturday garage sale expeditions planned with military precision. The rapid-fire voices of auctioneers. Serious heat and serious cold and a history that is my own.
The feeling I belong, even as a discontented outsider, to a world that had no choice but to welcome me.