Portrait as Son Throwing Stones in the Street

A soldier tells a story about a father beating
his son in the street. He asked the father, why?
Because my son threw stones at your truck.
hole of broken teeth
he will answer
a car accident/
face to
dashboard, a peeling
stripe             of chest
collapsing red into
lines/  solemn for
a stone’s throw
away/  the son
holds onto      jido’s
 a tree begins
   with a seed
to hold him or,
cradle to     relief
before he clenches
down to
fractured canines
ground into bubble
gum arabic
how he licks     the dust
the same
in a stopped car/
unsure whether teeth
or debris
how the ███
ground his mouth
to sand,      commanding
defense   or chewing on
regret/  to repent,
as if                     ease

Tarik Dobbs is a queer, Lebanese-American poet from Dearborn, Michigan. In 2018, he won a Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship, a Hopwood Undergraduate Poetry Award, and the Paul and Sonia Handleman Poetry Award for his collected poems. He also won the Projector Poetry Prize from Projector Magazine UK. His poems are forthcoming in diode poetry journal.