After a Conversation about Janazah with S in a Dream

Abu Bakr Sadiq

By Abu Bakr Sadiq

I wake drunk on the smell of my kufi liquefying under sunlight
I touch the sea under my eyes hoping to pick wishbones from its bed

I watch a cat fight for its life as it gulps mouthfuls of mudwater in a pond
& I do not know if I want to save it or drown with it. therapy:

find an orifice in language & give your trauma a home.
I’m trying hard not to say I’m finding myself in every dirge on the internet

but man, these things look so much like me. but we are fucking good,
right? I mean, if I keep my head down, go on about writing poetry on the leaflets

of my sedatives & nurse every bruise I pick from falls while sleepwalking
out of my nightmares, right? I must say though, my God, fuck these nightmares.

here I am, feeling alive, undead as tomorrow. I am watching as the night
unfolds to shroud the light in my room. fear grows on my tongue, I mistake it

for my language. before my eyes, darkness coalesces into an epitaph. I wait
until the night pours itself into a glass of water on the table & the table spreads out

like a river. the river is without a tributary—it opens & closes
in the eyes of a boy. the boy floats with flowers in his mouth. mouth here

is my country, where a father stands before his son’s body during janazah
& no one cries ‘cos he lived like a nightingale with elegies for birdsongs.

lord, guide my father’s hands to press the coma out of my breastbone should i ever oversleep
& slip towards the edge of death—& this better not be yet another unanswerable prayer.


Abu Bakr Sadiq is a Nigerian poet, studying at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His poems are published/forthcoming in The Lit Quarterly, Uncanny Magazine, Iskanchi Press & Magazine, Knight’s Library Magazine, Rockvale Review, Radical Art Review, The Drinking Gourd, and elsewhere. He writes from Minna and reads for Frontier Poetry.
Twitter & Instagram: @bakronline