You sent your son to find me
halfway across the country;
it could just as easily have gone the other way.
We could still be sitting underneath
a sky with no interruptions,
to see a curving line at the horizon
living through snow in winter,
baked-earth summers, my niece's smile;
my family's endless casseroles.
The only home I knew.
Still, you sent your son to find me,
trusted in the call of red dirt,
soft consonants, honeysuckle jam; in the way
of this state
to move a bit more slowly,
hug strangers as though you've missed them for years,
look sideways at what Yankees call 'barbecue'...
You trusted all these things,
the only home he knew.
So when we joined hands
hearts, families, friends, and futures
it could have gone either way, still.
We could have picked the flatlands;
my father's fields, black dirt or green corn
chosen the weight of an Illinois sky
When we came to make our home in you
it wasn't your honeysuckle, barbecue, or football.
It wasn't even the red dirt.
It definitely wasn't the coast.
It was the mountains in the fog that called us home.