Father’s Phobia

1 February 2018

In Beirut one night, Father hit a woman
driving home past curfew
from a soccer game. We hear the story
from Abu George, his childhood friend,
because Father can’t ever admit to his mistakes.

45 years later, he still refuses to drive,
claims poor eyesight and an unhealed rib
make him dangerous. We play along
because the erratic rain of Sunni missiles
may have propelled our car into her too.

We never ask about the haunting; it sits
between us like a broken bridge, a wet road
on a starless night. We don’t ask why
he didn’t stop to help her, why he revved
the engine, raced his way home.

We don’t wonder if he remembers
the color of her hair, the thick braid
sweeping across her left shoulder. We create
her likeness in our minds—sometimes she’s not
a Muslim, not a farmer’s wife, not a beggar.

Sometimes she’s just a girl who gets up
and walks away.

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