"Girl with Fish" by Mihepu.
© Please do not reproduce without artist's permission.
by Fatimah Asghar
It is the last memory I will ever have of my father:
my weight on his buoyant knee, his fishline smile
turned nibble on bait. The friend across from him,
mouth brimming like a boat, secret tucked in his teeth.
You like coming over here, don’t you? My fish-father
who is never home laughs, I bob and nod.
All the sinks in the house have become mouths
laughing, lips wide. All the walls are tongues licking.
Everything leads to a drain clogged with hair,
the artery my father will die from in three weeks.
But today the artery has not clogged yet, only the house.
Only the boatman with oars for teeth. I give her candy
when I baby-sit. I know I’m not supposed to, brother.
But that’s what uncles are for. A joke between men
out to sea. A joke where I am tucked between the scratch
of salt water, the boatman’s wet saliva & the pound
of his soft candy down the back of my throat.
Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, performer, photographer, writer and thinker. Her chapbook Medusa, They Would Sing is forthcoming from YesYes Books this fall, and her work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, Drunken Boat, Word Riot and other publications. In 2011, on a Fulbright scholarship studying theater in post-genocidal countries, Asghar created Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first Spoken Word Poetry group, REFLEKS. She is also a member of the Dark Noise Collective and a Kundiman Fellow.