Saddiq Dzukogi

Today Baha is not dead; she is six-years-old,
forcing marshmallows into my mouth.
says I’m grown enough to feed you, Abba,
with the future, that’s what she calls me,
just like her brother. I force
the depraved cumin flowers
back into their seeds. The delight is that I have
pulled my shadows back into my skin
to salve my wounds and all the times
I have sat crying erased—able to side-step
the void just as I had wished. She is at my feet
playing with my toes as though they are
extension of her toys—I love it.
My image of love pronounced in the way
she holds on to my big-toe, rubbing her finger
across its nail—Grandmother says whatever I will
would become. I didn’t understand until now how
over the years I have sat quietly and watched her grow
inside me, un-knotting my regret,
until it becomes loose like a house
made of smoke-bricks. Whenever a brick
is laid, the wind dispels it— and
the house exists only in blueprint.
I’m traveling inside grandfather’s clock,
arrive at the garden where Baha
serves me honeycomb
in her mother’s tea cup.
Thirty-thousand leaves are supplicating to nature
and the air is pure—and I pick apples
for my daughter. My cupped palms
is not an empty cave—a bowl of water
for my child. She is drinking into the future—
a transient hope deep inside me, found by the girl in my body—
the real version of myself. I think
six years ago, Baha went inside me
to keep her company and they kept
growing like two trees in a sterile field, the dream
of marshmallows and my daughter still alive.