My Dad Who Left The T.V. On by Sarah El Halabi

October 11, 2015

To all those who suffer from social injustice.

My dad who left the tv on
Left my mum too
Crying in an empty heap of herself
Her body a mass of tissue
Suffocating in its own misery
My dad who left the tv on
Left little Agnes too
And she asked me everyday
Whether she was allowed to turn the it off
I screamed in my fury
That he was coming back
Only out to buy her her favorite snack
And that it was rude to turn it all off
With the press of a remote button
My dad who left the tv on
Said he was taking the car

For a drive
Its door’s hue shredded
Ribbon like shapes
Of worn out paint
Masquerading on its ancient surface
Said he’d be back for dinner
And by that I mean the portion of his lunch
That he always left untouched
My dad who left the tv on
Left his muddy shoes by the door
Slipped into a pair of new ones
It was raining that day
And I told him it was fine
Not to run with his car
Outside
Even if the whiskey that marked his breath
Bid him to do so
With all the urgency in the world
My dad who left the tv on
Broke the kitchen table that day
With his bare hands
He screamed we don’t need this anymore
My boss replaced me with a 20 year old
My dad who left the tv on
Was willing to join
The long line
Of unemployed men
Sponsored by the mayor
Who demanded a fee for helping
Set the line
A poor poor man
His mansion was burned down
By some angry neighbor
I heard the angry neighbor
Hung himself the next day
By his side a suicide letter
That read

Nothing.
My dad who left the tv on
Came back to us 3 months later
They found him by the river
All black and blue and naked
The current tore his clothes away
But his pair of shoes
Were plastered to his feet
So my mama took them off
They were all muddy from the river
She placed them by our door
My dad who left the tv on
Left us with questions
About where he left his car
we needed to sell it
To buy a new kitchen table
It’s not like food would be put on it
Anyway.

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