Sorry if I sound a little briny.
But this seventh morning of our cross-country move,
my dad and mom and brother and me and
Einstein, our white and gold Collie, we
all squeezed into the Chevy,
to cross the Great Salt Desert
at 4 a.m.
to beat the heat,
there being no air conditioning
and Dad — this is funny —
just worrying about the dog.
And I’m expecting to see dunes of the stuff
I sprinkle from the shaker — and waiting for
the Chevy to turn into an
oven, like my dad said. I’m not ready for
how the front grille is swallowing up the white lines and
Einstein’s drooling them back out on me,
or how the scratched Formica table at the
Halfway to Nowhere Café starts to turn on me
after I insist on eating
a cheeseburger, fries, and cherry pie at 11 a.m.,
and everything spins and spins . . .
And Einstein barks and barks until my dad stops.
It’s 5 p.m. and by 5:02 I’m in my pink bikini, dipping
my right big toe into something
like a melted blue ice cube
in a hunk of concrete they dare call a
pool, and my dad is sitting in the middle with his legs crossed,
floating like a hairy Buddha, miles from Halfway to Nowhere,
and I squint down into the chemical blue
of the chlorine, and up into the dried-out blue
of the sky, but I can’t see the bottomless blue of our ocean,
or our old stone lions waving goodbye.
So anyway, I climb out and dry myself off,
And my skin starts to turn
into salt. I don’t think it’s from the fries at lunch.
I think it’s
the looking back.
–refers from the word “Einstein” in the poem What I’ve Forgotten by Cal Nordt