BURYING THINGS BY CHARLENE CARUSO 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 32
I’ve never been to Oklahoma but I live with its past. It shares our bed. I am Ed’s third wife. We live in Californianot nearly far enough away from Oklahoma. The broken history of the land and the brokenness of so many of its people is passed down in this family from father to son. DNA dangling from the snapped wishbone of each Y chromosome.
It is a chronicle of bones.
Oklahoma has a long history of death, but nothing there can stay buried. Nothing there can stay dead.
Jutting out of its corners are 120-million-year-old rock formations. Relics from a time when the land was covered by shallow seas, the geography formed and reformed as the earth’s chest heaved. Its magma spewing, building mountains amid the collision of tectonic plates, tilting the land forever east, spilling the inland sea back to the coastal ocean.
These ancient outcroppings, the bones of the earth, erupt through the hard dirt, shattering the layers of time, even as their presence marks its passage—reaching up into the present from the age of dinosaurs, when Oklahoma was subtropical and wet with rivers. They are remnants of a lost world where stretched-neck beasts became the favored prey of one particular carnivorous dinosaur, Acrocanthosaurus. Skeletal remains of these huge predators, drowned in the hungry deep waters, were excavated from the dusty throats of long-silent river beds.
Oklahoma was mistakenly thought to be a good place to bury things, but there is a band of deep cuts in the Oklahoma earth, some of the gashes reach more than 150 feet into the ground, which make that stretch of land look just like what they call it, tombstone topography. The effect is like exposing the geology of griefthe whispering of bones in the promised land.
TALK TALK BANG BANG BY GRAHAM DASELER 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 32