Dujie Tahat: October 2018 Poet of the Month

Dujie Tahat: October 2018 Poet of the Month

during mass

I’d write

dozens of poems—

all of them

about my mother.

My sister

must have been right

beside me

but I can’t recall,

which isn’t a metaphor

except it is like

when the property manager

gives you the keys

to your first apartment

& suddenly you have to

make a home out

of so many blank walls

or when your lover leaves you

after having made together

a home is what you make

of it. In a church,

my mother hums a hymn


long after another communion

that I bowed my head

before the holy father

& did not receive

the Flesh of Christ.

The word of God

still rings in that room

up in the rafters somewhere

like wedding bells at a winery

like I’ve never been married

in a church before

no matter how much she begged.

in a mosque

that is actually a house,

very sober men huddled

around a broken


a brick the culprit,

fallen towers the shadow

in which Muslims prayed

more often than normal

those days. It was modest—

a craftsman

in a certified all-American

town—not any different really

than any house next to it.

No vaults of heaven—

only unadorned a-frames.

No discernible patterns

in the tapestry of backs

facing the sky at jumu'ah.

A fence went up

around the yard

by Citizenship Day

& dad, it would

be so funny now

if it weren't

so ordinary then—

Dujie Tahat is a Filipino-Jordanian-American immigrant living in Washington state. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Sugar House Review, Shenandoah, Tahoma Literary Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. His reviews and essays on poetry and politics can be found in Seattle Review of Books and Civic Skunk Works. Dujie has earned fellowships from the Richard Hugo House and Jack Straw Writing Program. He serves as a poetry editor for Moss and Homology Lit and interviews poets for The Adroit Journal. He got his start as a Seattle Poetry Slam Finalist, a collegiate grand slam champion, and Seattle Youth Speaks Grand Slam Champion, representing Seattle at HBO’s Brave New Voices.