July 1994.
Driving by the chokecherry trees, the crunch from the gravel road makes its own music.
“Welcome home!” mother yells and on the hill behind grandmas house you can see mountains of garbage.
The smell makes me squeeze my nose and laugh as she points beyond them to Mrs. Blues house.
And I hate this road because the dust makes me sneeze so much–
“Wait Cookum, what’s a dump ground?”

January 1999.

Driving through the moonlight, dead tree branches cast shadows of claws on the familiar road.
“Our new home!” mother shrieks waving a shiny gold key as we pull up to reconstructed land.
Though we didn’t own it, 300$ a month was a steal for a burnt unit in this housing or so I had heard.
Newly remodeled, the fresh paint covers up smells of previous ash and hides the history of mold–
“Wait Daddy, what are those black spots in the closet wall?”

August 2004.

Driving past our graffiti covered Turtle View sign, dodging potholes in the road is a skill.
“A new home,” mother sighs as déjà vu and unease eat away at my stomach, an ulcer of apprehension.
I lose count of the boarded up units that multiply by the day as people relocate to the newly gifted estate.
A 1 million dollar housing project and the senator smiles bright for a photo op, to him we’re just #1140.
“Wait mom, so who is Kent Conrad?”

March 2009.

Driving down the newly paved BIA 5 road, I remember Mrs. Blue died in 2006.
“Wait until you see,” mom says blankly, the rubble in the dark resembles history photos of burnt tipis.
Rocks and tape block off the entrance while Danger and No Trespassing signs cover my childhood.
The faded paper conceals broken boards of elapsed memories that were repositioned on prettier garbage.



Moorhead, United States

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