when my father says “watch your waistline” By A.K. Shakour

when my father says “watch your waistline”

Poem by A.K. Shakour

Art by Paphada Chantrakul

when my father says “watch your waistline”

i listen.

i put my waistline on a leash created for wild toddlers

pull it towards me,

so its chubby hands don’t grab the snickers bar and

at night i tuck my waistline in.

i wrap it snuggly under the covers,

read it lullabies, sing that it is my sunshine,

gingerly kiss its forehead as i shut the light off and

turn away when its eyes are closed.

sometimes i drop the leash.

when my waistline sprints into three lane traffic,

on the way to school, cars swerving to avoid it,

crashing into fire hydrants, killing stray dogs, honking

echoing for miles

i chase my waistline

i capture my waistline  

i beat my waistline, like a baby seal,

with a bat covered in sharp metal teeth,


as the blood of the battered creature spurts

onto the chipped cement sidewalk.

when my father says “watch your waistline”

i install cameras in its house, become big brother,

i track its every move, sending SWAT teams to invade

from the sun window on the roof.

when i watch my waistline

i am not the sun. i am not sweet like snickers.

i am bleeding, stomach echoing, but nobody can see it,

not even from the window on the roof.