father, stretch my hands

Dujie Tahat

I’m watching myself yell at my father,

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,

 a hairline

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

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