North Dakota

I should make a North Dakota shadow box with rooms furnished by happy and strange objectified memories. There should be a lazy boy recliner, twin beds, insulation crammed between a window pane, red shag carpet, a missing grape scented watch, a forbidden room, and a bowl of split pea soup for my mother to pour onto my head.

We moved into a two-story house with a long kitchen where dad would cook southern meals and I would sneak bites of shredded coconut from the pantry above the basement stairs. My father subscribed to Playboy. One day I walked five or six neighborhood boys into my parents’ bedroom with the assuredness of a seven-year-old genius to surprise them with something cool. “Look,” I said and pointed to the pile of magazines. A busty woman in red on the topmost magazine’s cover photo smiled back at us. To my surprise, instead of praising me, they looked at me blankly and left.

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