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Dorothy: Since Arriving in the Emerald City

I’ve found the constant rain to be a bit of a drag.
Sure, it keeps the firs green and the poppies blooming,
but how many days of bright snowcapped mountains
and sunny shaggy-pony lollipop parades do we get each year?
Twelve, max? And two seasons: wet and less wet.

It seems the only way to reach me anymore is by hot-air balloon,
and I’m waiting for another lift-by-twister to take me back
to flatland, the gritty red dirt of my Midwestern home,
away from these azure seas and rainbow-hued side streets.

Toto’s right at home; more dogs than children
in my magical town, the coffee’s sharp and hot,
and no one remarks anymore on my plaid pinafore
and braids. I’m an eco-warrior in ruby heels,

with no prince charming but four gay best friends
who love to celebrate the solstice nude
riding down Fremont’s yellow brick road
on sparkly bicycles. I’m thinking of taking up engine work
at Boeing, running circles around the wizard’s palace in Medina,
maybe launching a new phone app: “Angry Flying Monkeys?”

Aunty Em, send me peaches and tomatoes grown in clay,
another round of Cheerwine and molasses cookies,
Uncle Henry’s salty taciturn postcards from Branson
stuck in the box. I get tired of the brilliance, cherry blossom
and rhododendron, rainforest and recycling. Volvos
and Suburus and bumper-sticker left-wing politics and vegan cafes.

Give me one more round of farm-hand, of shooting range,
of dry wheat field rustle and bluegrass preachers
on the AM before I relax into the Razzle-Dazzle
of this new technicolor and techno-driven Metropolis,
don my quirky glasses and drink enough Oregon Pinot
to wipe Kansas permanently off my map.

Jeannine Hall Gailey

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