Two-Year-Old a Metaphor & Other Poems

Adamu Yahuza Abdullahi

two-year-old a metaphor

For Adamu Mubaraq

two-year-old a metaphor & i spill into this poem where I decide to die
with you everyday – my verses have no Gabriel left, only Azraeel
folding you into a refuge for bullets in my mouth. you, a fraying bayonet
drowning in the waters of life. i am still learning the proper ways to love
you. i am searching for a portrait of you in the songs we sang together.
i am gathering the parts of you the bullet broke into shards of dust, into
all the songs that missed your lips – slowly, call them fault lines. today,
i say your name before the day breaks; a means to love temporariness,
ultimately. there is something tender about being broken, about broken
bones – how it stretches one into the comfort of loneliness. two-year-old
a metaphor, the wind blows your memories into our heads like
candle flames, like a scene from a favourite movie. you are alive &
struggling with darkness etched in between the lines in my poems.
the water is calling your body home. you are drowning in it. everything
lost with the water could be found at the shore. but not your body.
your body is the water – holy, like a lover’s first moan. your body is
the sponge on the ruin of the sea wave. your body is a shelter-less river
song. your body is the fisherman’s bait. your body is two years old and
still missing. ma is still searching for you in her broken prayers. every day,
she offers charity to the wind to carry your remains in the smoke escaping
from pa’s cigarette. today I’m out to separate your body from chaos. I tear
your memories into a wing-less poem & here NEPA take light & at the
same time my android battery is draining faster than your breath –
which is to say; darkness is one place to bury your loss. you are
two-year-old a metaphor and ma still has not learnt the proper lies to tell our
youngest sister whenever she perceives the absence of your aura in the
quiet night. her face, satin, like the colourful moon on the night the water
stretched you into drowning. you are two-year-old a metaphor & I’m
here searching for you in the languages of loneliness. there is something
about obsession, how it always happens before purpose. by this I mean,
we loved you more after you became a synonym for the spaces in between
our fingers. you are two-year-old a metaphor, ma places a portrait of you
before an empty glass, carves your face into reflections – an incision,
and pours you into the rooftop, into queer darkness; call her the purpose
the bullet hit instead of you. call her tears; the blockages on the rifle that
coughed you into the thunderstorm. call her a forgotten path with no trace
of footsteps. call her a mother who gives birth to silence instead of a son.
you are two-year old a metaphor and I’m saying, one sacred place to
love your beloved is in a lonely poem & with a voice defying gravity
& in a dark night & with a bag of sorrow clumping your emotions
into leverages of sands. i am reposing in our photos, borrowing
from you your glasses & your smile that the earth envies. dear God,
i know photocopies aren’t as neat as originals, but bless me with
one. again, fill my life with purpose. fill my life with purpose.
fill my life with purpose.

here is water, drink

For Tares Oburumu

there is joy in the music the heart makes,
                                                how your body breaks more than the attics can hold.

every day, you make your distance to the night,
                                                confessing your sins in its chaos, asking for a miracle;

because the night is the only place that
                                                looks like home. something is tearing the laughter 

in your mouth – like grief treading a
                                                widow’s body. once, you were asked what it means 

for a thing to be perfect & you said it
                                                is when your ruin fits you like they were moulded in

your shape, in heaven. you spend every
                                                night questioning your shadow, what it means to be broken. 

when the first light left your body,
                                            – like sickness, you felt it, but do not have the word for it. 

you let it have its way like your
                                                  body is a shoe & it is the lace – even if all you ever wanted

was for it to stay. there is no telling
                                                how you pass through each day, but whenever you do,

 I bet you will call it another of your
                                                mistakes – forgetting tomorrow is a cloud pregnant with 


The morning my brother died

For Adamu Mubaraq

On a Thursday morning, god’s hands touched
us at the wrong spots & my brother was the first
to feel them; his breath wafting into the hungry clouds.
The day my brother died, we poured our tears
into the Muezzin’s voice, walked our sorrows
into god’s ears. Ma grabbed his favourite photo,
moulded it into a skin & wore it as clothing.
I did not blame her. I, too, know what becomes
of the night when the moon is put to shame.
She sat close to his room & listened as the walls
whispered his absence. Mubaraq, can you hear me?
Her wrapper falling off her waist like oversized
beads. I sat on my wailings, hoping light would find me.
Light is the wind returning the echo of my wails.
I weaved my tears into a prayer & went inside
my room. Because, in this game of hunting, death is
the passionate Archer and anyone could be its
target. Inside, I stood before a mirror, counting
the weightlessness of his dreams. Shattered,
I knelt down & mourned alongside his shadow. Believe
me, I did not break. I was everything but broken.
I google searched how to bear my loss & a voice
rose a sun over my head, watering the score of scars
brimming into freshness; saying: Mubaraq is not dead.
He’s somewhere exiling into the silence of god,
breathing between woods, head logged into the soil’s
warmth; dressed in a white attire, his best. I wore hope
in the nape of a thunderstorm & believed my brother
is everywhere dead people do not go; that, today,
Mubaraq does not fit into the night’s mouth,
he’s the only thing that fits.

Adamu Yahuza Abdullahi, THE PLOB, TPC V, is a budding poet and essayist from Kwara state, Nigeria. He is a Best Of The Net Nominee and a second place winner of the first edition of Hassan Sulaiman Gimba Esq Poetry Prize.


*Image by Ryan Graybill on Unsplash

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