Cool Water played on our living room stereo like a distant
desert breeze while we roughhoused and did acrobatics
with Dad. He lifted us up into the air one at a time, our bellies
pressed into his feet while he lay on the carpet on his back.
We held our arms and legs out stiff as we flew. I wondered
how it would feel to go a whole day without the taste of water,
cool water. My brother and I take turns soaring my dad’s legs
above that dry barren land. I know the album by heart.
It’s one of only four or five we had, and it warned us
there’s a devil not a man who wants to hurt us and a desert
where men in white shirts and khakis crawl in their own sweat
toward the minty promise of water. My father lifts me
out of harm’s way, the cells in our mouths bulky with moisture.
I am seven and am learning how to pencil my wants
in a diary. I didn’t know one day I’d have to learn
how to let go of this man who taught me how to fly.