you are your mother’s nightmare
whimpering on her kitchen floor.
three women with eyes yellowed by war
sit around you, humming surah al-fatiha,
rocking back and forth like playground swings in winter.
a fourth woman,
triangle of wrinkles between her brows
peels back your white baati,
pulls apart your legs
and whispers in your ear
did he touch you there huuno? did he?
you say nothing
because your mouth reeks of his hot car and wet tongue,
of his you’re special sagaleey, special like fanta twist.
your mother stops pretending to be busy at the stove
and collapses to the floor.
she curses the absence of your father,
beating her chest like women who pull their lovers
from burning houses.
that night your auntie visits from market harborough,
says you have the eyes of her dead ayeeyo,
an amhara woman who descended from kings,
fattened by halwa and sesame oil in a copenhagen suburb.
an old lady with date-stuffed bags lets herself into the flat.
she pinches your cheeks and whispers to your mother
why didn’t you teach her how to scream?