the visiting poet asks why I never write about my hometown

17332510_1365515566802592_1305848135918026752_nit’s the same as any town, really.

there’s a waffle barn sign on the right side of the highway.

 

a teenage quarterback was once arrested for assaulting a running back

with one of his sneakers. every fall the rice fields burned,

 

and we trick-or-treated with sweatpants

under our princess skirts.

 

once there was a flood. we piled

in the mazda and spent a week crowded with my cousins.

 

when we got back, the shopping mall

was completely underwater. I wanted our house submerged too,

 

practiced sinking in our bathtub like an anchor.

one summer I spent hours digging holes in the sideyard

 

and reluctantly re-covering them. every time I loved someone new,

I kept it a secret. I lit matches and held them

 

until they burned me. once a bat got into the house.

my mother claims we laid on the floor of the living room

 

together, watching its tiny shadow. I remember it different:

my parents’ voices muffled, every window and door swung open,

 

sliding down the slick wood hallway in socks

to capture the wild, fluttering thing or go with it.