POEM: Hagiography

BY SAALEHA IDREES BAMJEE

Daddy, that you died when you did
I don’t mind any more.
At six, it was too much
at 29, I can take it.
And you timed it so
I never got around to hating you.

I keep you incorruptible.
Incense unfurls my tongue
in offering I speak of you
faultless, generous your arms
holding dolls who talk
when you push their hearts
magnetised chess sets, day-glo dinosaur
bones, the library I lean on.

I wear after you
skinny Bob Marley ties
and feathered fedoras.
I wear the sponge of your ears,
soaking up sob-stories, the fabled
and for-real. People say
we’re too soft but really
we just like to listen.
I no longer grudge
what you’ve passed on to me
your bold nose, this
clefted chin, these dashes
of laughter deep in our eyes.
It’s like you had to go
so I could take your place.

 

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