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by Yusuf Ismail

i open this poem / with my moniker / a euphemism / for doldrums. / i sundered the sun / into two
splashy lemons, / swallowed both with water/ like two halves of a pill / let them sit / at the top/
of my stomach. / half, the memory of my relatives / that could not dodge azrael’s offer / to take
their souls: àbáké, / grandmother; bàámi & my friends. / màámí said: pigeon does not enjoy/
with you & then desert / you in times of trials. / you won’t fathom the blissful / forlornness in
losing / those closest to you. / last evening, i smiled in my dream, / & the laughter of my
neighbourhood, / a blade / slivered the door / of my room & wrote insomnia / on my face. / why is everyone dressed in black? / they are here / to adorn / a  sleeping girl. / that means, / i am the only victim here. / the other half, my happiness, / the word i love you, / turned into stray bullets/ scattering everyone / six feet from my side, / into the necropolis / & loneliness / became a fire / ingesting the clay / that is my flesh. / i know what they call loss: / my grandmother’s, past/ a limpid blueness, / crammed in my heart. / on the hospital bed. / she moored my shaking hands/ her burden, / a bag of salt, / too heavy to shoulder / on my shoulder. / i said, i love you, mama. / i
really do. / but she wilted / like a hyacinth / heard the clarion call / of death like my neighbour. / my crush. this morning.

Photo Courtesy of Suad Kamardeen
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