February 02, 2019 – Brylle B. Tabora
In front of the mirror, my father shows me how to shave:
In one smooth swoosh, he pulls the razor up his chin.
No cream, no after shave, just plain old water.
The blunt edges of the months-old razor barely cut
my pubescent facial hair. I never got the hang of it.
“A clean face makes you look desirable, more professional.”
Although I never really found to this to be true.
He continues with his blabbering, like he always does,
and when he raises the blade close to his jugular, he tells me:
“You must never look in another man’s eye unless you
want to start a fight.” That was about thirteen years ago.
Now, twenty-four and fatherless, I look right in my lover’s eyes.
He has a habit of picking the hair off his upper lip,
saying he does not like how razors make his face rough.
I wanted to tell him how this makes him sound childish.
Instead, I tell him we’re going to be late for the funeral service.
The mass starts at exactly 7 p.m. Friends and family gather
to pray to the other God my father has long rejected, asking
him to absolve his sins and send him to God-knows-where.
After the mass, I go over to the coffin to join my friends,
repeating the story of how stroke took him by surprise.
I realize now I have been staring at my father more than
I ever did in my lifetime. I take note of his face,
how well-rested and clean-shaven.
Art by Karl Davin Hui
BRYLLE B. TABORA IS A GRADUATE OF B.S. BIOLOGY FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS. HE WAS A WRITING FELLOW FOR POETRY IN THE UST SUMMER CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP (2014) AND THE 52ND SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY NATIONAL WRITERS WORKSHOP (2013), AND A FELLOW FOR FICTION AT THE 12TH IYAS CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP (2012) IN BACOLOD CITY. HIS POEMS HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE PHILIPPINES GRAPHIC, HEIGHTS, MONTAGE, SILLIMAN JOURNAL, AND THE QUARTERLY LITERARY REVIEW SINGAPORE, AMONG OTHERS.
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