Riptide of memory

Inside of my memory, the poem is another memory.The air up here is thin, but the wind blows harderthan anywhere else I know. It threatens to ripmy body away, like an angel of death, to the stars.

In Arizona, I thought I would forget the rain,forget its sound on a roof like a hard wind, forgetits smell like a far away ocean. Luckily for meit rains here. Luckily, because I forget too easily.

In a dream, my father is caught by a riptide off-shore.He’s pulled far out, far enough that the shoreline’sa dim line in his memory on the horizon. I can see himswimming, hand over hand, pulling his small weight

back to land. I see him as another shipwreck victim,coughing sand and seawater, beard woven with seaweed.I see him lying there a long time. I see all thisas he tells me the story, years later, the riptide

only a ghost in his memory, I only a child fallingasleep. My mother’s making mayonnaise rollsin the kitchen, a recipe I’ll send for years later,in Arizona, in the monsoon season, when my thirst

pulls me back home, my memory’s lonesome twinklelike stars above the mountains. I’ll send for itand try to make them, but at this altitude they’llcrumble into dust like desert air, like a memory.