Another Balikbayan In Which Ma Asks Her Kids To Go To Mass With Her Pero No One Ever Does

by Dujie Tahat

So in went the Word—for it was the first day.
The  second,  Father  was  away.   My mother
folded  the  hand-me-downs  slowly  to  form
perfect angles.  The basket full of fluorescent
squares.  The box  solid.  She could reach the
rafters  during  the  hymnal. Every  day of the
week  there  are  candles  to  light.  I  do  the
dishes. I know I need a more tender touching.
I moisturize. I pack lunches with tiny notes in
them  for  the  next  day. Love  letters  for my
little  ones.  Send  them  each  off  to  school
armed without so much as a straight line but
a loosely-drawn doodle of a boy & a bear.

Dujie Tahat is a Filipino-Jordanian immigrant living in Washington state. They are the author of Here I Am O My God, selected by Fady Joudah for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship, and Salat, selected by Cornelius Eady as winner of the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Chapbook Award.