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.
Sunday 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