January 6, 2023

After Saddiq Dzukogi 

Today, alcohol managed to recognize 

my father through a sniff: an essence

sloping into a birthmark of scenery,


and smell, too. In my hands, a verb 

becomes what defines a face the most:

recoiling of actions, like feet learn


how to yawn into soil with cold toes.

In this poem, a girl kneels herself into

a cavalcade of naming every juice that


stains her lips poison. Who doesn’t 

know what it means when a psalm fer-

ment into blood under black tongues? 


It means, even god is racial, even god

discriminates between which tongue


holds the leverage to call his name and

not burn. Like that, every man becomes

a watchdog of his color to know whom


to find reprieve from: god or spirytus 

vodka. You see, at birth, i was the size

of my mother’s nipple, and when i was


three months, i’ve understood what sur-

vival means: how to not sink in a tulu.


What i remember was: on every juma’at,

mother hides two pints of turpentine in

her gele, and father, in his kaftan coffers.


The response was: god recognizes a skin 

that beacons the night better than the one 

that covers what light remains of the day.


Saheed SundaySunday T. Saheed is a Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation member. His works have appeared or are forthcoming on Brittle Paper, Rough Cut Press, Temz Review and others. Reach him on Instagram @poetsundaysaheed



Featured Image by Harry Quan on Unsplash