The Dead Man’s Nightmare / Tristan Foster

Long before the night of his death
The morning after the quarrel with his father
In the final throes of Ramadan
A moment or two after the front door squeals shut
And his mother shuffles down the hallway to go back to bed
        The Dead Man has a nightmare

Piled rice with spiced beef is being served at the table of a stranger
A lizard hurries up the wall and Kabid’s entire body becomes breathtakingly itchy
His host asks him a question but it is impossible to listen
Soon his hair catches on fire
Wakes to the muezzin’s call and dogs barking and
        The echo of crying babies

Kabid peels potatoes in the kitchen
Skipped work to help his mother cook
Feels his soul being snuffed out behind his eyes when his father returns home
Catches him surrounded by potato skins  
Singing a song under his breath
One only he knows the words to
        About an alley cat lost in London

Baba puts his bags on the floor to more freely examine his son
Kabid has not slept with a single girl and thinks his father knows it
Never had the chance and never will
That he prays daily for the electricity of his love to be returned
Daydreaming of
        Waking next to her golden flesh



Tristan Foster is a writer from Sydney, Australia. His debut short story collection Letter to the Author of the Letter to the Father was published from Transmission Press.

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