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North Dakota On My Mind

by Wendy Freborg


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Wendy is a former editor and retired social worker living in Sonoma County, California. She has one husband and one son, enough friends, too many doctors and a volunteer job that requires petting puppies. Ingenue Magazine published one of her poems in 1964.  More recent credits include Big River Poetry Review, Vox Poetica, Our Day’s Encounter, and Brevity.


I have never been to North Dakota. I have a friend from Fargo. She came to my wedding but I didn’t go to hers. Because it was so far away, in North Dakota.

For a long time I didn’t think about going to North Dakota. It’s not like I was actively avoiding the state but, really, why go to North Dakota? My friend doesn’t live there anymore. Should I go for the Badlands? I saw badlands in South Dakota. Can North Dakota be very different from South Dakota?

I used to think that way, but now I’ve changed my mind. I want to go to North Dakota. I really want to go to North Dakota. It’s a numbers thing, as in fifty states. I’ve been to forty-nine of them. North Dakota is the one that got away.

North and South Dakota used to be all one entity, the Territory of Dakota. If it hadn’t been divided, I wouldn’t feel this way. Forty-eight states plus a trip on I-80 through the state of Dakota and I’d say, “Okay, I’m done.” But Congress made two states of it and I have never been to North Dakota.

It’s the lure of the unfinished story. The collection that isn’t complete. The mosquito bite behind my itch to travel...to North Dakota.

North Dakotans will probably hate me for this. I’ve reduced their state to a collectible, the geographic equivalent of a sex object.

I know it is wrong but still, I’ve got North Dakota on my mind. Is there a song called North Dakota Dreaming? Can anyone hum it for me?


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