American Self-Portrait

By Dean Rader

Dear LeAnne,

This is the day when Oklahoma gives everything back. They're returning the rotunda, the Myriad Gardens and both Cherokee Trading Posts. They're giving back the oil wells and Sooner Stadium, the Cowboy Hall of fame, Cattlemen's steak house, Oaktree golf course, and Falls Creek. They're returning Jim Inhoffe, Mary Fallon, and Frank Keating, returning the National Lighter Museum and Oral Roberts University, giving back Lil' Red, Garth Brooks, and Reba McEntire, giving back the interstates and the shopping malls, the windmills, the livestock farms, the aggies, the rifles, the Murrah Building, the fracking, Tinker Air Force Base, and the Republicans. They're giving it all back: the red dirt, the blistered sky, the bent-back trees, the stars in their caves of bones, and the bones and the ropes and the guns and the hoods and the plows. They're returning Indian City USA, Enterprise City, Phillips 66, Loves Convenient Stores, Frontier City, and White Water. They're returning all the dust, giving back 1907, 1936, and the entire decade of the 1880s, they're revoking the Dawes Act, the Homestead Act, the Oklahoma Organic Act. They're returning all the chicken fried steak, the Ford 150s, the 3.2 beer, the cherry limeades, and yes, even the mullets. They're giving back all of the perch and the crappie, the brown bears and the deer, they're giving back mountains and chicken hawks, ground squirrels, bison, and raccoons, lakes, and buffalo grass, summer blast and black ice. Trucks, schooners, hoes, hatchets, dugouts, dirt devils, scarves, parcels, acres, all of it, everything LeAnne, everything, even textbooks and statues, bridges and buildings, drive-ins and movie screens, Broadway songs, airports, fried-onion hamburgers, footballs, bombs, the EG-3 aircraft, all the headstones and all the dams, and they're giving back the dead and the shovels we used to bury them, and they are giving back the dead and the bullets, and they are giving back the dead, and the blankets and they are giving back the dead, they are giving back the dead, they are giving back the dead, they are giving back the dead, they are giving back the dead.