Mama & Me at Bonneville Salt Flats:
A Very Sunny Day
written by: John Dorroh
We drive the Bonneville Salt Flats
today; take my mother’s hand to help
her cross the blue-white chasm in the
Great Salt Lake. The boat is made
for speed and we are not. Two-o’clock
sun throwing down its weight, sunglasses
vital, caps and sunscreen required.
“Lighter than air,” the driver says, “and
here we can float like nothing else matters.”
His beady eyes swell into almonds.
We pass the old Salt Lake carnival
grounds, flooded now after years of tears
and anti-gravity, salt licking everything
in its path. Ice sculptures, the dilapidated
pier where kids with balloons and taffy
chided and teased their sisters and cousins
and sisters of cousins, their mothers with
long beach skirts and dads with handlebar
moustaches, spreading picnics on tables
where plastic flowers dotted the landscape.
It takes our breaths away, the salt water air,
the destruction by bacteria; reverse osmosis,
petrified wood pilings and planks. Where did
all the people they go, and why isn’t this
in the history books?
We are salt-cured and pink, like autumn hams.
In the hotel mirror we look like raccoons. It’s
the first day of the rest of the journey, and my mama
insists that her breathing will be the best it’s been
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