by Warda Yassin
l found the photograph in the brown suitcase with the clipped passports,
grandfather’s cassettes and those old red NHS logbooks.
Hooyo is wearing an oversized, white T-shirt and her sinewy curls
scamper across her shoulder blades, jet black eyes dare the moon.
Now, she will tell me these were unruly days of impromptu photo shoots,
ankle deep in primroses, the loneliness of motherhood in Edward Street flats.
Aragsan’s henna buzz-cut is the focus, turning everything bokeh,
even then ironclad, her smile reminding you why she married last.
One day, she will succumb to the community and gift her daughter with all
the ways to remain kind and good and modest. Then there’s Abdisalam
who’s only Abdi here. His face framed by a cloud of afro, ebony skin stark
against a sanguine smile. Soon, he will learn to answer to a half-name
as he juggles a half life – weekdays spent scolding sons for eyebrow slits
and fades; those Sundays longing to cut across his boyhood mountains.
© Warda Yassin
With kind permission of the poet