So here’s our firstborn. Another child, and
another. Here’s a six pack of dark beer
shoved through a basement window. Here’s
the Montreal bistro I proposed in, that we returned to
every year until we didn’t. Here’s the last time we had sex—
after the office holiday party. We couldn’t even
wait, got started in the cab ride home.
What to do with all this? What I’m hearing you say is…
is a good tactic for staying here a little longer. I learned this
after I left. To speculate if you’ve forgiven me
is not the point. Tell me about the betrayal.
I get that’s the part you can’t get over.
No, there wasn’t any sex. Yes, it’s complicated
because we were fucking the whole time. I was trying
to find you. I came but couldn’t
make room for satisfaction. There’s so much
packed in here already. A mosque. A protest.
An unused vibrator. Communication requires grace.
Grace requires distance. Can I answer? Of course,
we were just trying to dunk on each other. Sure, we could’ve
stayed together, waited two years to meet each other
again, a real family in a ghost house. Maybe, it would’ve ended
anyway, but at least a gentler kind of distance.
I’m just talking at this point, but if I told you I grew up
in a religious household, that I did what I had to do
to be the golden child at home but did what I wanted
when outside, it wouldn’t make you feel any better. We’re past the anger
now that we’ve arrived, here, at the meaning-making phase,
but it wasn’t time that did it. That’s why this feels
like a hall of mirrors. There’s no one to reach for but myself.
Dujie Tahat is a Filipino-Jordanian immigrant living in Washington state. They are the author of Here I Am O My God, selected by Fady Joudah for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, and Salat, selected by Cornelius Eady as winner of the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Chapbook Award. Along with Gabrielle Bates and Luther Hughes, they cohost The Poet Salon podcast. dujietahat.com
read next: Brian Evenson, “Report on Forbidden Beverages“
“The Therapist We Never Got Says, “Time Doesn’t Do Anything—You Have to Fill It”” appeared in TLR: Contents May Shift (Summer, 2020)