Essays    Reportage    Marginalia    Interviews    Poetry    Fiction    Videos    Everything   
My father who could hold seven plates on his arms

He dreams of drowning, / dreams of dancing.

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday
March 8, 2022

but could only wash dishes in the kitchen.
My father who was Jackie Chan on weekends

but Mr. Miyagi on weekdays, my father
who cleared tables, wiped windows, smuggled

bars of soap in the soles of his shoes,
who started licking himself nightly

after the manager asked why he smelt
of seaweed, who once, at dinner,

asked for fish without fingers. On his birthday,
he hammered butterflies into walls, mouthed

envelopes, caressed the curves of his piano.
When he sleeps, his erection swivels

towards True North. He dreams of drowning,
dreams of dancing. Dreams of dying with his mother’s

nipple in his mouth. Every morning he checks
his ears for salt & sand. He never leaves the tap

running for more than two minutes. He has a phobia
of shrimp. He has a phobia of buffets. He has a phobia

of women with amputated toes. He says you can’t spell
family without famine, he says, an empty stomach is the most

portable life jacket. If the rain knocks,
he hides under the carpet. If the sink moans,

he slices a peach. The man on the TV
loves him. The moon wants to deport him.

Whenever the house is silent, he sings
his mother’s favorite song

to an empty bathtub.