Cotton Xenomorph is a new literary journal produced with the mission to showcase new, and ecstatic art while reducing language of oppression in our community. We are dedicated to uplifting new and established voices while engaging in thoughtful conversation around social justice.

Whose Sons Are We

by Hussain Ahmed

After Safia Elhillo


i knew our father had a gun, but I didn’t know if he had a license

or on what side he would stand if you gave him bullets.

he should take the blame for this burning sky

father was a rain maker

but it took him hours to fix a shower

i went on a date with your doppelgänger

she tells me baab is a door that leads anywhere

free of smoke where the air carries the scent of lovers

around a room full of ivies

she tells me her heart is a country etched with a builder’s spade

half drowned in water half buried in sand

her father stops coming home after the shipwreck,

and her heart becomes an orphanage in need of renovations

because she misplaced her cookbook

the children assigned themselves a birthday

from the dates on receipts they found on the street

I think of myself as the pigeon flying over the ruins

no one will cry when I go missing.

Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian writer and environmentalist. His poems are featured or forthcoming in Puerto del Sol, Prairie Schooner, Nashville Review, Yemassee and elsewhere.

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