The welcome arch read Only the Best Come North & my parents laughed tongue-in-cheek at another cross-country Air Force move. In fifth grade, I learned about America & the Dakotas & the Cold War & elections as Reagan won office. My teacher called him a warmonger & at dinner my mother said, Don’t worry, as my father’s face hardened. He said, We keep the world safe. But that winter a whiteout hit & erased all but the edges of duplexes & Dundee Drive, like a snow globe shaken, a diorama mastodons would have lived: glaciated Northern plains, a drifting surface wind, the green borealis ghosting the stars. And just before dark I took a walk further than allowed & tromped a snowdrift over the high fence separating the base from miles of wheat fields in every way until horizon was a blur. My breath suspended in whorls, in sound. That half-mile out alone, I looked back—at lights turning on one by one, at my steps, where they ended—unaware of the long-range missiles & fatigued men deep beneath my feet working twenty-four hour shifts holding an imaginary line.
Tanya Grae is the author of the forthcoming collection Undoll, a National Poetry Series finalist. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Post Road, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. Grae teaches at Florida State University while finishing her doctorate.
“Why Not Minot” appears in TLR: Babel Fish