A poem for Father's Day
Tariq Latif's poem A Harvest of Wheat remembers a family moment
All day the sounds of scythes
Cutting stalks. Our hands sticky
With juices, our arms heavy
With swathes of wheat.
All day in the blazing sun.
Our backs arched, eyes focused
On the sharp blade and the stems.
Slicing and gathering systematically.
All day in a kind of communion:
My father reciting the Koran;
My brothers and cousins and nephews
Exchanging stories and jokes. Our lives
Inter-mingling, growing around words.
Above us, the crows caw all day.
By evening there are bales of wheat
Scattered in an open field.
The women near the edges make
Nan bread. The scent of dough,
Baking, comforts our exhausted bodies.
Embers float up into the navy sky.
One by one stars begin to glimmer.
We navigate ourselves towards Mecca.
My father’s voice rises between us.
His words crumble in my mouth.
A Harvest of Wheat first appeared in The Minister's Garden published by Arc Publications. Taken from Ten Poems About Fathers, published by Candlestick Press.