a poem by Shitta Faruq Adémólá

this longing

“We will surely test you with something of fear & hunger, & the loss of wealth & lives & the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently preserver, who say-when afflicted with calamity – “To God we belong & to Him we shall return!” They are those who descend blessings from their Lord, and Mercy. Such are the rightly guided.” (Quran 2:155-157).

a boy will call his loss a destiny, mix it with
shards of broken bottles, & bruise his skin with stones.
he’ll call a bird by his native name, & break its wings.
in this poem, i am a purple river from a distant land,
a sky with a gallery of bones hidden inside of me.
i formulate my grief into an owl’s mouth,
call it music. music the crescendo of the night,
peppered by the grave of a father, & a teardrop.
my father died, & i became a basket of scatterings.
the thing about death is that it does not come when
our teeth are white, when we are in our most beautiful dresses.
when, our hands do not start to shake like a stampede of wolves.
i am the little boy in this poem, & the smell
of my father’s skin is what my body writhes for. i want to feel the
softness of his breath, again, like pomegranates. blue seas,
& birds. i want to open my ears for the fineness of his song,
his baritone gently filling up the spaces in my tiny ears.
tonight, i will enter the masjid, & speak to Allah to bless his body,
give him a brave voice, & place him in the most beautiful
place in jannah. Aamiin.

Shitta Faruq Adémólá is a young Muslim Poet, budding French linguist, Phone Photographer and Fiction Writer From Nigeria. He is the author of a microchap All I Know Is I Am Going To Be Beautiful One Day (Ghost City Press, 2021), and a forthcoming chapbook Night Club With Dogs (INKspired, 2021). His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Jalada Africa, Beestung Magazine, Serotonin, FERAL, Third Estate Art, Rigorous Magazine, Icefloe Press, and elsewhere. He is the winner of the Fitrah Review Poetry Prize, 2021, a Poetry Editor at Litround, and tweets @shittafaruqade1.

Art: from “Spin” a VISPO series by Robert Frede Kenter (2022). Twitter: @frede_kenter

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