Two Poems | by Dujie Tahat

by the time I pick up the kids

they’ve already eaten breakfast
              & the clothes I have for them don’t fit.
              Our time is slippage
slipcover slip-up slipping.
It’s been some days,
              so when next I see my baby,
              there’s a cut on her finger
              & I don’t know how it got there.
My son can count & draw faces.
The oldest has made a fossil out of plaster—
everything she says is old is new is old again
so a shock of fright is to be expected
when she asks (& I don’t know)
              how I would break
              out of a locked room, say,
              up in a tower
somewhere, with nothing
but a mirror & a table.
Well you look in the mirror,
she says. You see what you saw
              & use the saw
              to cut
              the table
because two halves make a whole,
              you jump through the hole
             down to the gate
where you call out the password,
             but your voice is hoarse,
            & you ride the horse
            over the fence
            all the way
            to freedom.



             actually, half Muslim








Dujie Tahat is a Filipino-Jordanian American writer living in Washington state. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in ShenandoahHampden-Sydney Poetry ReviewYes PoetryStrange Horizons, and elsewhere. His essays on poetry and politics have appeared in the Seattle Review of Books and Civic Skunk Works. Dujie has earned fellowships from the Richard Hugo House and Jack Straw. He serves as a poetry editor for Moss and Homology Lit

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