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—Your father, did you kill him?
it was the henna on my hands
saving the leftovers of my beautiful name
—Why did you?
he turned me a compartment for his candle
I’m no archer/ but
I’ve lost count of the flower vases
I shattered since his bronze shadow began lurking
—What did you do?
believe me, I tried to make my breasts
disappear & make my waist as shapeless as an amoeba
—But it takes two to tango?
I felt his warmth in my mouth
& & the heat of his breath tingling my ears
& & the rueful tears of desire burning my eyes
—who knew?
there was the doll sitting on my bedside stool
mutely she watched all the episodes
—What did he say?
you’re a full flower in the heavy rain
which must first be plucked by hands
versed in the rhythm of touch
—What did he do?
he traced a map on my chest
& & healed dark gullies with hymns of delight
until in my eyes where stars blazing
—Why didn’t you run?
my mother vanished into mirrors
I’ve been rummaging an empty house in nightmares
—Why did you not speak?
I heard the echo in an empty house after singing in parables
she opened a sacred book in my body/ filled her with ellipsis of endurance
—Did he force you?
there were things in my body needing reconfiguration
like the way my name unfurled like a loss
the way I sang my wishes into still petals in an empty house
—You know you’ll die for murder?
my mother vanished into broken mirrors
I’ve been rummaging an empty house in nightmares

Hussani Abdulrahim is a Nigerian writer and undergraduate at Usmanu DanFodio University, Sokoto, Nigeria. He is winner of WRR’s 2018 Humanity Flash Contest, finalist for 2018 Africa Book Club short story contest, shortlisted for 2019 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize, 2018 Ken Egas Poetry Prize and Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize 2018, Wordiators Championship 2018 first runner-up, 2018 ANA Kano/Peace Panel Poetry Prize winner and runner-up in the short story category, also joint winner WRR’s 2016 Green Author Prize, among others. Some of his works can be found in the BPPC anthologies: The Train Stops At Sunset (2017) & Citadel Of Words (2018); Brittle Paper’s Work Naija Anthology, Vanguard’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Anthology, The Wrong Patient and Other Stories From Africa (anthology of the Africa book club short story contest 2018), et cetra. He believes that words have the power to heal the world of its numerous ills. Presently, he writes from Sokoto, Nigeria.

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