Sometimes, you would lose a friend in an ambush.
You would fight off the fog that clouded the bank of your eyes.
It’s not only of the dead and their laughter you had grown used to,
It is of the wives that would call your number to confirm it was true,
And of their children who knew you from the picture you took
On the last Eid.
Their families are now yours and you are a galaxy
For wandering satellites torching the edge of the dark filed with match sticks.
In the picture, you pin a ram to the ground, and smiled into what would
Hold your face in a full regalia outside of the heated atmosphere one last time.
You may have removed the ram’s horns after singeing, to breath in the hot air,
Baba said it cures epistaxis.
No one we knew was healed but we believed
In the miracle of a ram’s horn.
Sometimes, you lose a comrade in a gun fight, but you continue to finger the AK’s trigger
Like a prayer bead, you won’t lower your gun, you must live to mourn the departed.
Hussain Ahmed is Nigerian, poet, and environmentalist. He holds a master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Control from Obafemi Awolowo University. His poems are featured or forthcoming from AGNI, Poetry Magazine, The Kenyon Review, Transition Magazine and elsewhere. He is a 2021 Semi-finalist Cave Canem Poetry Prize, 2022 Finalist for the University of Wisconsin Press’s Brittingham Prize and Felix Pollak Prize poetry competition, and several others. He is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Mississippi and the author of chapbook “Harp in a Fireplace” (Newfound, 2021) and debut collection Soliloquy with the Ghosts in Nile (Black Ocean, 2022).