My father likes to play hide and seek with his responsibilities

I’ll phone him; cut his head off with a medical bill

That’d beg his hands to shove my eyes

down the hollowed throat of his pocket

Not because I enjoy how his words uncuff my anxiety

Or his misconstrued display of rightness

Sometimes I wonder if there were different religious books for people like him

And another low-quality one for the rest of us.


He’s a master at losing every fiber

Of obligation from the intricate lace of his reality

On the other side of the phone

He’d go recite Falaq and Nas three times

Pour into a bowl of water and drink

There’s nothing God cannot make go away with prayers

The line cuts before I think of the next word to say.


My father thinks of himself as a wise man

He leaves you with the unseen hands that shift the cosmos into a wholesome globe

My mother goes about wondering how

She’d managed to survive this for over 20 years

Her voice is the one noise that unfolds my anxiety

So I phone my father, again

This time, I tell him the bill has been sorted out

And he does not ask how.