saffron lane by Yasmin Musse

after we scratched filigree

onto trees behind

my mother’s house

our wet fingernails

needed a break

 

i played at being the white lady

from countryfile

i trailed stolen periwinkles

along my sandpaper tongue

trying to taste the sea

you sang diriyam

to english pigeons

near iceland and never asked me

 

why

 

i fade like cilaan

when the sun keels over

 

or why

 

i breathe like i’m breathing

through a keyhole holding a key

 

or why

 

my ayeeyo prays to elahi

i’ll end up like girls in marka cadey

who crush cardamom with their teeth to taste honey

or freedom

 

or why

 

habaryar rubs her blackness away with lemons

 

or why

 

all the women in my family

are afraid of bufis and make fun

of my broken somali

 

hooyo ma taalo? ma joogto?

 

i tell you i hate questions

enough to ask them like water

especially on chilly days when

politicians rub flakes from

their elbows

and my neighbours

hang the St George’s flag

to remind my dad

this is england

when he forgets

 

and why

 

is the tip of my hooyo’s nose red

like the cadaan ladies who

bother her at the council?

 

and why

 

does my brother

tell me feelings are for people

who can afford

to scream murder at police?

 

and why

 

does the ethnic boy tarry

under my window and ask to see

the length

of my hair

to make sure

i’m pretty?

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4 thoughts on “saffron lane by Yasmin Musse

  1. Pingback: saffron lane by Yasmin Musse | Celfypridd

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