He dreams of drowning, / dreams of dancing.
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.