First Louisiana. That’s where I was born. Down the bayou. More hard ground back then. The gulf moves inland bringing salt water to fresh water wild life. Louisiana provides 30% of the nation’s sea food. Or did until Katrina. Brush Island sank with the rest of the barrier and Houma is almost a coastal city.

Now Iowa. I lived in a little town in the northeast called Alpha. 113 people until the Halversons moved out, leaving only 98 of us. Then we moved. I thought I’d come to California to be a Mouseketeer. Don’t laugh. I was 6. Alpha has a creek, cutting through town that I was forbidden to play near. Today it may be more of a river.

My sister lives in Mount Vernon Iowa. She has three kids and works at the University of Iowa 30 miles away in Iowa City. I used to go back there in the summer to take writing classes from grads of the famous Iowa Writers Workshop. The names of authors are pressed into the sidewalk on brass plaques. Mecca. The ped bridge across the Iowa River which takes one from the Student Union to the art gallery is underwater.

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