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dear paula--i have no idea where i am. i drive and i drive for hours at a time naming the things that I see through the window--sky, yucca, a black horse, a spotted horse, a white horse, an auburn colored bull resting in a field, apple trees, pecan trees, an exxon station, a boarded up garage, its lot filled with dead cars, rain clouds above the sacramento mountains, one ghost town, two ghost towns, a sign for the stardust motel but no motel, sunflowers, the interstate, the country road, the farm road, the greyhound station, a bus headed for los angeles, a bus headed for miami. i am driving east toward a texas hill town famous for its peaches but it's not the right season--i arrive and there are no peaches. i am driving west toward sand dunes in southern new mexico. i arrive to the pure, white dunes, the sand rolling and rippling and stretching out for miles. the sea was once there but not now, not anymore. it was very peaceful out there. and then, from the air force base near by, war planes maneuvered overhead, tearing the sky.

. . .

what strikes me most is the ash and the people walking and the people holding up pictures of the people they love and crying that all they want is for this person to 'come home' and the people digging with their hands through the rubble and the people running

. . .

and the way trinh says 'yes!' and starts to cry when i ask if she is thinking about ma--who has been gone for six months now.

. . .

i'm exhausted, grieving, wary. i want to know what is meant by 'war', 'rapid deployment', 'infinite justice','a return to normal'.
--l thi diem thy