Poetry Pause Spotlight with Grain Magazine

Kai Conradi — Sometimes my father is in my nightmares

 Sometimes my father is in my nightmares— those sly things, all teeth and sharp edges, that weave themselves into my sleep. Invariably he dies or else mistakes me for another. He calls me by the wrong names, the old names— those sly things, all teeth and sharp edges, that weave themselves into my sleep. Often I am naked and ashamed and he calls me by the wrong names, the old names I never asked to carry, stumbling under their weight. Often I am naked and ashamed and I try to hide the parts of me—or un-me— I never asked to carry, stumbling under their weight. And he, too, is often naked in these dreams. I try to hide the parts of me—or un-me— I would do anything to erase and he, too, is often naked in these dreams— his body everything mine is not. I would do anything to erase the bruises these dreams leave when I wake. His body everything mine is not. If waking bore no reality to dreaming the bruises these dreams leave when I wake could be scrubbed down the drain with cold water. If waking bore no reality to dreaming I could forget his voice calling, and those jagged moments before waking could be scrubbed down the drain with cold water. Invariably he dies or else mistakes me for another. I can’t forget his voice calling and, in those jagged moments before waking, sometimes my father is in my nightmares. Copyright © Kai Conradi. Originally appeared in Grain, Vol. 46.1, Fall 2018. Kai Conradi is a queer and trans, award-winning poet and short story writer from Cumberland, BC. He is currently an undergrad in the University of Victoria’s writing program. Kai has work forthcoming in Poetry and The Malahat Review. Grain, the journal of eclectic writing, is a literary quarterly out of Saskatchewan that publishes engaging and challenging writing and art by Canadian and international writers and artists. Every issue features new writing from both developing and established writers. Each issue also highlights the unique artwork of a different visual artist. www.grainmagazine.ca