Two Poems by Zaynab Bobi

Just a little longer


your mother makes tea with fresh leaves of thoughts// sipping between father’s goodbye and his return/ as if to say// each step takes an inch of his life// & the steam leases him more// when he returns// she will wash worries off her face// spread her arms// to pour the water in kwarya// & offer them to God—

this is how wives

live on the edge of uncertainty

in my country.


& what happened to the child?–

who draws a portrait of his mother

with kaoli on tree’s bark

& every night

         he gives her a peck// promising// the dark duvet// & birds chirps make him sleep//
dreaming of her arms// around his torso// humming// just a little longer.

The greatest jihad is to battle your own soul, to fight the evil within yourself           

                         on youtube, bearded men with rifles in hand, quote my prophet
                            to remind me of what he said a muslim is to another muslim.
                                                                ~ Abu Bakr Sadiqq

in the book, where my prophet’s life and teachings live,
I take in every Hadith, searching for them–
the bearded men or their quote of my prophet,
but I flip zero page of them or what they say.
which is to say, their mouths are cadavers of lies
and the bodies they lodge make me groan
wanting to pinch their lives back in.

& in every news from Gaza to Syria to Nigeria,
the heavily beaded men take guns as sword
in the name of jihad.
what about the greatest of them all?
“the greatest jihad (struggle) is to battle your own soul,
to fight the evil within yourself”
is the black dot in our hearts
not heavier than a sword?
or are our souls clean enough to lighten the sirad?

Zaynab Bobi, from Bobi, Niger State, is a Nigerian writer, digital artist and a photographer. She is a finalist of the Voice of Peace anthology, the treasurer of Hilltop Creative Art, Abuja branch and member of Poetry Club Udus. Zainab is a student of Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto studying medical laboratory science. Her works are published and forthcoming in Kalahari Review, Blue Marble Review, Sledgehammer Lit, PraxisMag, WRR, Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Rigorous Magazine, Night Coffee Lit, Salamander Ink, Acropolis Journal, Olit Magazine, and The Shallow Tales Review, among others. Social media handles: Twitter: @ZainabBobi, Facebook: @Zainab Iliyasu Bobi, and Instagram: @Zainab_i_bobi.

Banner Art: Flag. A VISPO by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2021. Twitter: @frede_kenter.

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