To Dad, An Overdue ‘It’s Okay’

by Orooj-e-Zafar

someday when the horizon tilts to submission
and takes one final look at the earth
crumbling beneath its toes,
I will find it in this tectonic chest,
brightening without your filth to taint it,
to let you

i will find it
in the sponge of my rib cage
to look at you without
cringing away,
to renew my blood
excluding you.
i will find it
in the pinky birthmark
i owe you;
i will find it
in my lobed ears.
i will find
somewhere –

in the mango cheeks i owe
my mother,
the smile you were never behind,
the bone density she keeps
losing to aging:

i will find
somewhere where you
are not

and i will scream at the end of every day,
at the start of every winter,
at the cosmic expanse
of the moment we couldn’t stop staring
till i let you

i will learn
to let you

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