Minefield

Where are we going, Daddy?
We sat together in the pock-marked desert, those scorching miles of side-to-side sand, with nothing but cacti for companionship.
Do you know, I can still feel the grit between my back teeth.

Where are we going, Daddy?

We’ve climbed the mountain, that treacherous ascent into heights which illuminated the depths of the valley, every handhold up the rockface a counterpart of a pothole in the gorge.

Do you know, I found an eagle’s nest in the crag and in the canyon.

Where are we going, Daddy?

The rigging of my sails needs to be replaced before we set sail again, but you seem content to stay anchored at shore. I am paying attention to the wind, like you taught me, and it is not stirring the water but the trees.

Do you know, I haven’t regained my land legs yet.

Where are we going, Daddy?

We traversed the topography of the island–sandaled across lava rock, bare-footed through sand, bare-skinned in topsoil imported from the mainland. Among the branches of coffee trees, under the shade of your eyelashes, you supplanted the resistance in my heart, snapping these dry bones as twigs, resuscitating breath in my limbs, Because I live, you will live.

Do you know, I am still finding sea salt on my scalp, that compound which first locked in my grief now preserving a beauty born of ashes.

Where are we going, Daddy?

You raise the lowland and raze the highland. You dig in me a deep well and bring the bottom to the brim so the water has nowhere to go but over and out. I am walking a tundra in too-big boots, with palm trees growing out of city streets and cacti sprouting in wetlands. You are a highway straight to the horizon through unfamiliar territory.

Do you know, I think we are going to the minefield.

 

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