Drought (A poem for Somalia)

this is where hurt lives
buried beneath the cracks of dry soil
and dispersing into the folds of a body whose
hunger has taught it that pain resides at the bottom
of your belly, in that corner of your gut that differentiates
between your children and knows who to feed first and who
can cope another night on saliva and prayer alone
the exact moment a mother’s heart breaks is like the sound
of a wound when it is opening for the first time, bursting with fury
it shatters so loud that you can feel the hairs on the back of your neck
stand at attention, a moment of silence, three thousand miles away
‘You were not created to suffer’, she says, to this body
whose stretched limbs has returned to its birth weight
three years and a hundred meals less later
this child, whose swollen belly is a cruel reminder that humans can be
both full and empty at once, carries the dreams of his parents with every gasp of breath, imagine a love so strong that it can keep your child alive
here, in the land that refuses to weep loss in form of rainfall
are human beings starving for a chance to grow beyond their birth weight
and to know more than where hurt resides
humans whose visible rib cages are a stark reminder that both the body and the land possess a selfish thirst that feasts on tears and sweat
and even then, our hunger will only serve as proof that we are still alive
and that we will not wilt and perish
but instead grow taller towards the sun


Please consider donating to Caawiwalaal to help make a huge difference to the catastrophic famine and drought in Somalia. Any spare change is life changing. This is a great organisation that you can also follow via Twitter Thank you.

Published in Cecile’s Writers’ Magazine

My poem Diasporic Dreams was recently published in a Dutch literary magazine -see link here: Cecile’s Writers’ Magazine or read below:

Diasporic Dreams

I do not know how to change the future, but
My pregnant heart carries the past like an
Overdue pressure of a life I’m still leading
On the inside, kicking with silent murmured
Rage that will not die and refuses to be born
Until I speak of the lives I lead across waters

I do not know how to change the future, but
My crouching back is the bridge on which
Your breath once followed its own trace back
Home to my nose that towers over my face like
A place of worship that breathes out life for us
And pauses in order to inhale simultaneously

I do not know how to change the future, but
My past glides in and out of memory to the faint
Sound of folklore told through oud as my mind
Blacks out from recollecting black faces that
Stand firm on my mother tongue like child soldiers
Lining up for quiet approval and recognition

I do not know how to change the future, but
My curled lips are a constant reminder that we
Come from a long line of warriors whose pounding
Words and exotic eyelashes have been silenced (shhh)
Into blinking children my womb has made room for
So that I will believe I once had a life, in me