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.