Part I- The outsider

She fashioned patchwork skin.

Clung onto each moment

With her stained palms,

Stitched them onto the loose skin around her arms,

Her Browns

Resembled the tea stains

That we dabbed on corners of history projects,

Spices swirled in her irises, tears marked the cedar oak of her wrists.


Ayeyo loved when the light leaked in through the crack in the curtain,

Sun kissed her naked forehead

Till her melanin became a muted mahogany

She’d sit in her recliner

Back outstretched

Clutching her prayer beads

From mourn till nigh.


She couldn’t rock in her chair

But the wind helped bob her head up

And down to old Omar Dhule

She hummed the wrong lyrics

To her favourites,

We watched

And smiled

With tears forming eulogies at the corners of our almond eyes










Part II- On nights without navy watchers


The sea hushed the warm gentle breeze to a muffle

With the sound of its tides

Hitting lagoon carved rocks

That resided on the sand

Resembling fine grained gold dust

That seeped between her fingertips like sun rays do to clouds.


There’s something about a night

Filled with blackened faces which

Turn the prettiest shade of blue when the moonlight hits,

Brandishing pearled white teeth that sing anthems of the sea bed,

Something about the closeness of melanin rich bodies

Embracing each other like freshly braided cornrows,


Hips swaying like palm trees in southern California

But it’s the 50s

And not a white face in sight

Saado Cali Warsame making folk songs sound like calypso

And we’re young and hip

Still have working hips


Grandmama’s skirt falls just below her knees,

And they shake like the bells

We let dangle around our camels necks,

Calves were free back then

No cloth to reside over them

Just the warm Berbera breeze


The man perched on the seat opposite,

Young handsome gentlemen,

With a mouth full of blooming daffodils

And a smile as wide as the Gulf of Aden behind him,

Sat idly, mesmerised by Grandmama’s wild eyes and her slow moving body

That twisted as if it were a growing vine


He got himself roped into this love story with not a horse in sight

Just a heart galloping to the beat of her breathing


She locked eyes with him

Prison cell caged her inside this moment

And forgot where she was.





Part III- “Baby, ayeeyo is not well”

Minds grow old and weary,

Cogs unscrew themselves and claim retirement too

Grey hairs begin to replace grey matter

Till memories become moments never lived

And smiles between children and mother

Resemble awkward vacant stares passed between strangers


Days hold those that he loves through his atom bomb photon fingertips

And caresses the skin of the unfortunates,

He prances into our rooms,

And Lets us behold him in his glory,

While he takes the best years from us

Has us smiling till we forget why we were ever happy,


Till we forget the four little brown skinned girls who sit in the corner shouting ayeyo,

Till we forget that the tea on the bedside is chilling from the fog filtering into the room.

Till we realise 2 seasons have passed and we’re still stood in front of this vacant window

Trying to find our names in brisk November weather,

And in the safe hands of passer byes,


Mourning the memories we lived and had forgotten.



  1. sumset · March 12, 2017

    Loved this poem so much I cannot describe it. It was beautifully written, hearbreaking, and it made me think of both my mother and grandmother. Amazing job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • boqorad · March 13, 2017

      I’m glad you enjoyed the poem and that it resonated with you! Thank you for your kind words, they’re much appreciated 🙂


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