12: June 2016 #04 - dear father

Authored by Shana Bulhan Haydock

dear father

by Shana Bulhan Haydock

at sixteen i am sure you were not wayward at all.

was the road dusty peach-creamsicle when you walked, one chappal…
did you actually have a great-uncle named mattukrishnan
is there a mount kailash somewhere
        are you secretly the 2000 year old man
when did you smoke your first cigarette, and your last
        did you feel sand whip your hair in the village
                    cows and peter pan, could you imagine

                    why didn’t you marry your seventies girlfriend
                    did you have debates with her about black politics
                    how did you get her to call me two years ago
                                did she think it was weird
                                before yelling

was dadaji ever tender?
what is the most taboo thing
did badhe tau-ji ever talk about his possible father
would you like to meet your distant possible muslim relatives in pakistan

did you ever look in the mirror just once
        before whisking the cloth back over?

would you try to control me in the u.s. too          would you be frail
                    are you ever allowed to be— weak, intestines willing

                                i have inherited so much from you
                                how else could i speak, no one could write me
                                            any fate but you, all your predictions
                                                        come true, i am not a scientist
                                                        but i am full of words, that preliminary—

                                            —real before scream, still
                                halting, still colonized
                                            i dreamed i woke up and told you
        main abhi aapse sirf hindi main baat karoongi
                    agar mujhe kuch shabd samajh nahin paati toh main pooch loongi
        baaki main sab hindi main boloongi
i screamed a bit, fervent monologue to ma
        i’d forgotten it all                 when afternoon was still another
                                                                    sore throat
                                it could never be anything but loss,
                    no formula for this— you always had the right
                                i wish i’d never— declined, i hope someday
                                            i really mean it, i really learn
                                                        so many words just needing
                    to grow, what use is infidelity
                                if i never come back
                                            there is only language
                                            to strike a war inside my body
                                i must surrender— you have left me— so much
                    so don’t leave me anymore
would you really choose
        i see you broken & maybe patterns don’t always
        have to repeat (maybe you get to be— sad too,
                                are you angry you never had therapy
                                            would you have—
                                —is it possible to translate
        will i only be able to read your stories
                    when you are long gone
                                will i ever
                                will you really be
                                long gone)
i nominate you for the neighbourhood award, your wayward daughter
        hot&sour sixteen, tremulous nineteen
                    uneasily even-numbered at 24
        luv, the one you should disown
                    always waiting for proof
                    i could not be anything
                                would not be real
                    no imaginary, no planetary— fragment,
bone marrow & blood, transfuse to blue
        —i never knew, did you hold me just stare
        look inside a baby cage
                    monitors and bureaucracy
        damage, carnage— to exist is
                                obligatory, &
                    miraculous too
you don’t have to rationalize            i already know
        i never wanted
                    to punish you