Portrait of My Father as Tatooine

Amorak Huey


A man with two sons sometimes forgets
the shape of flame. Sometimes forgets
to warn of the danger of downed wires.
He struggles to describe loneliness,
to know how much he should reveal
about how the ground has shifted,
was always shifting. He knows
there are adventures and there are movies
about adventures. There are Saturdays
and the idea of Saturdays.
He is always remembering advice
he should have given – how to extinguish
a campfire, never to spit into the wind,
why a triangle is the strongest shape,
how to keep fingers away from blade,
never to shoot an arrow straight up into the air.
He sees himself in his sons but does not recognize
the sound of broken glass. These are not
the days he was looking for.
The world arranges itself into visits
and the space between: a dry lakebed at dusk,
the crushed, papery skull of a heron,
a burned spot in the sand –
the man’s fears made tangible,
his dreams all of the same thirsty planet.