Tuesday May 21

HussainAhmed Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian writer and environmentalist. His poems are featured or forthcoming in Puerto del Sol, Nashville Review, Hobart, decomP, Cherry Tree and elsewhere.

Taxonomy: Grief

its noon and there’s grief in the air
a girl surrounded by elephants three times her age
their tusks bent towards the sky as if in supplication
there’s a seat for everyone because it’s no taboo
for women to mourn   she walks down the aisle alone
despite her shoulder blade      heavier with each step
the mourners are hungry         but it’s a taboo
to ask for food            when the deceased had no grey hairs.
the echoes in your stomach tell of how empty you
have become   you emptied your bladder through your eyes
your body is now thirty percent water            seventy percent salt.
on the bench    she remembers how they met
the curl of his lips when he calls her name
the forecast on the radio claimed it will rain  it didn’t
this could be another bad dream she doesn’t want to see
for too long     she had wanted to give the women her eyes
there is no way those eyes were hers
she grew faint, her shadows barely visible under a bulb
she saw her new self in the mirror      shy to stare into the eyes from the reflection
like it was on her first date
she feels a pulse farther from her rib cage      just below her navel
where she hopes to get a tattoo of his name   scribbled in red