You ain’t shit North Dakota—you’re all snow and flat and forever
horizon. You fly-over state. You MAGA hat, Fox News junkie.
The year I left it snowed on June 1st. June 1st you motherfucker.
Can’t bury the dead in a North Dakota winter unless you bonfire first.
My 18th birthday brought a 15-foot blizzard that shut down a state
that knows how to deal with snow. North Dakota laughed at chains
on tires, laughed at the fools who tried to leave their neighborhoods.
My father cleared the driveway with the snowblower and North Dakota
punked him and dropped another 8-inches. As if his work was ever done.
And now, he’s dying. You did this to him North Dakota, you broke
him. His whole life spent nurturing you, feeding the world with
the wheat he grew in your rich soil. He never touched the black
tar of long-dead dinosaurs that sits beneath you, never mind the millions
it could bring. And what do you do? You give him thunder-snow.
You withhold the Northern Lights that have, on rare occasion, pirouetted
across the sky like a bright green ballerina. I saw them once, had to pull
over to gape. But my father has never seen them and now his eyesight is failing.
His hands shake. He’s always cold. His one functioning kidney is stuttering
to a stop. It’ll drag all the other organs down with it. It won’t take long
and his doctor has promised she’ll make it painless. If he dies this winter
I’ll cut down every tree in every forest across you North Dakota. I’ll build
a fire big enough to see from space. Let the astronauts think it’s the Northern
Lights. Let everyone think the world is ending. Because for me, part of it will.
Courtney LeBlanc is the author of Beautiful & Full of Monsters (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press). She is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Riot in Your Throat, an independent poetry press. She has her MBA from University of Baltimore and her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She loves nail polish, tattoos, and a soy latte each morning. Read her publications on her blog: www.wordperv.com. Follow her on Twitter @wordperv and Instagram @wordperv79.
Image: “How Now” by Jonathan Silverman