EVERY BALIKBAYAN IS IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER FOR MY MOTHER

Dujie Tahat

Forgiveness is laborious that way. A never-ending line of empty boxes so long, we forget—I pin my awards to the fat bellies of stars. She pulls stitches from the spaces between. The thread is black, the point sharp. The odds are astronomical we'd end up, here, on the other side of our pale blue dot like this, at opposing ends of the cheap azure rug bought on clearance at Ross last week to cover up the fireplace burns of escaped embers. It's been at least a year. Finally dry enough to start, we throw in the kindling. Where there is smoke, I finally say I love you.

Feature Date

Series

Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

Dujie Tahat

Dujie Tahat is a Filipino-Jordanian immigrant living in Washington state. They are the author of the chapbooks Here I Am O My God, selected for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship; Salat, winner of the Tupelo Press Sunken Garden Chapbook Award and longlisted for the 2020 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection; and Balikbayan, finalist for the New Michigan Press / DIAGRAM chapbook contest and Center for Book Arts honoree. Along with Luther Hughes and Gabrielle Bates, they cohost The Poet Salon podcast. Find out more about them at dujietahat.com.

"I love these poems. They are pasalubong from that distant cousin who somehow knows you as intimately as you know yourself."
—Angela Garbes

"In Dujie Tahat's latest work, they speak of a longing that cannot merely be erased through the accumulation of things. Tahat questions our insistence in the economy of our grief by constructing delicate, jewel-like memory boxes. And in the moment when we open these gifts, we are offered a chance to return to a home that is within ourselves."
—Oliver de la Paz

"This collection is an innovative wonder-to borrow Tahat's words, here there are 'no blemishes.' Only 'bloom.'"
—Janine Joseph

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.