father, stretch my hands
I’m watching myself yell at my father,
SHUT UP. SHUT UP. SHUT UP.
IT’S MY TURN TO TALK.
I’m furious & pacing & I know
I’m as red all over as he must be
on the other end—
this weakening connection
cracks like a windshield,
then all at once a black &
yellow static slides into the astonished gap
between his lips
to fill his swelling throat
with a plastic bag of angry wasps
& I’m still yelling
in a different part of the house now,
my daughter’s room,
& I’m crying now, almost certainly,
knowing this will be the last time
I ever talk to him—
this man who could cartwheel on the golden hour
& laugh with his whole mouth & a cigarette clenched in his teeth
at the same time.
Whether or not you believe me,
I need you to know my father
was equal parts dazzle
He was 80s swagger & as soon as you saw him,
you knew he’d done some shit. He was a pop song
in the desert one summer. Now,
he is the cracks in my hands
that are looking more & more like his
by the day.
My flesh is thinning
& isn’t that punishment enough.
Dujie Tahat is a Filipino-Jordanian-American writer from Washington state. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Arcturus Magazine, Cascadia Rising Review, Across the Margin, Sakura Review, Crab Creek Review, Flypaper Magazine, and The American Journal of Poetry. He serve as a contributing poetry editor for Pacific Northwest literary magazine Moss and recently earned fellowships from the Hugo House and Jack Straw Writing Program. Dujie has been a Seattle Poetry Slam Finalist, a collegiate grand slam champion, and Seattle Youth Speaks Grand Slam Champion, representing Seattle at HBO's Brave New Voices. Find him on twitter @dujietahat.