I would like to dip my father in the earth. Rub the soil like soap in all his crevices, from the pores on his bald, greasy scalp to the underside of his thick, yellowed toenails. Rub the soil behind his ears, over the two deep wrinkles between his eyebrows, over the long hairs under his arms, into his belly button, into the crack of his buttocks, especially there, against his anus and the sides of the crease. Rub the soil on his pubic hair and inner thighs, sanding off the stains of urine. Rub his hairless, pale thin legs until they bruise from rubbing. Rub down to his feet, softening the brown calluses on his heels and toes until they are pink. Then mist him with rainwater. Turn him round and round until every spot is sprayed. Let him bake in the sun for a day or two until the soil has dried. Then toss him in the ocean. Not at the water’s edge upon a tepid shore, but in the deep. Hurl him off a jagged cliff into the middle of icy pelagic waters. Take a loofah sponge and wash the soil and grit away, scrubbing inside his ears and nose, his eyebrows, the moles upon his neck. Between the folds on his chin and the loose skin on his elbows. Between the backs of his knees and cracked skin on his fingertips. Let the soil and grit dissolve into the saltwater, clouds of milky brown mud dissipating into each swell of the sea. And then I’d take him onto the beach and let him dry there in the salt wind and sun. Turning him, spreading open all the secret places, until he was thoroughly dry. And then I’d put brand new flannel pajamas on him, so new the top and bottom hold stiff the folds from packaging. I’d tie the waistband ribbons in a neat bow. And I’d put him to bed and sit nearby and watch him sleep. And I would breathe!