A Sister Who Paints Her Neck With Color Notes by Yahuza Abdulkadir

I would not write this,

if not for the voices that turned

my head into a village square,

dancing the elegies of my sister.

the metaphors here,

have melted the ice on my tongue.

and I found my voice reciting

the last collection of my sister;

I’ll paint my neck with color notes 

                     and turn it into a body,

         when mother returned,

                     she would see my remains      


                 and pour salty waters on them.

I know our neighbor’s children,

will come to ask me why a mouth

full of saliva runs dry?

when its tongue never gets tired of licking itself.

my sister’s spirit would come back

and whisper to them that,

these words would have not been written 

if she didn’t swallow the voices telling her

do you know what your father looks like?

he was a good friend to those

broken bottles of wine in the street,

and a regular customer to those

women who sell their cheap skin

inside a dirty wrapper.

she would tell them

how difficult it was for her to know

which name planted her in the womb

of her mother,

and the best way to answer all these voices

is to paint her neck with color notes and turn it into a body.

Yahuza Abdulkadir is a Nigerian writer and poet. He is a member of Hill-top Creative Arts Foundation. His works are published in Terror House Magazine, Kalahari Review and others. When he is not writing he engages in social and humanitarian activities in his community.

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