when men take by Yasmin Musse

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?

One thought on “when men take by Yasmin Musse

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s