Oath

by Hussain Ahmed

Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian writer and environmentalist. His poems are featured or forthcoming in Puerto del Sol, Prairie Schooner, Vinyl, Yemassee, Gigantic Sequins, and elsewhere. His chapbook was a finalist for the 2017 Hyacinth Girl Press contest.

 

her eyes / vacant from the grey of old age
the messages are knots on the strings of a
prayer bead / like a tourist / clutching an old
guide to a deserted zoo / watering        the
rhododendron is her new religion / after her
husband’s death in the army / you ask how
she feels about the aches on her kneecap /
you reminded her of your father’s bad voice /
for lullaby / this was how a fight of thousand days /
began with a blow / i have admitted to knowing
things that will happen tomorrow / and that does not
make me god / i know that when today is over /
we will not be here to retell the story we love to say /
when the media visit our homes at night / of how
the safest place to sleep was the graveyard /
my mouth is the wrong place to be today /
the many fantasies of how tomato tastes
on this wet tongue / bloats a child’s stomach /
she is the castle and i the gate keeper /
watching over her from a binocular /
i made the sacrifices that took you years to think over /
i face it to the Kaaba / and mutters Allahu Akbar /
the ram does not cower at the sight of the knife / i untie the legs
and watch it walk into the woods / a red string on its right leg /
i told my mother i would not live a day if she dies /
it sounded like a promise rather than a plea

 


Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian writer and environmentalist. His poems are featured or forthcoming in Puerto del Sol, Prairie Schooner, Vinyl, Yemassee, Gigantic Sequins, and elsewhere. His chapbook was a finalist for the 2017 Hyacinth Girl Press contest.

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