Issue > Poetry
Hussain Ahmed

Hussain Ahmed

Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian writer and environmentalist. His poems are featured or forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, The Journal and elsewhere. He is a current MFA candidate at the University of Mississippi.

How the War Made Us a Name

Before the war, we had names we inherited from the dead.
It kept us warm until we start to lose those names to the wind.

The long corridor in my throat is of tinted glass window, all of which happened  
belong in the darkness of what may wash off the memories of all the dead

I woke up with scars on my arms; it surprises me that I still feel dead
after gulping a cup of pap. I feel strange in my father's frock too,

even though it keeps me warm. I need all the heat I could get today,
so the eggs in my body can hatch and be set free to roam

and make nests far from here, where it would not be haunted to deliver obituaries
in envelopes that are large enough to be registers, wherein our names are written for each

condolence visit. the war made us a name too much to keep up with,
we learn to escape the burning, before we learn that every name we inherit comes with allergies,

I throw a harp inside the fireplace, it poured out the tunes I once heard father played on it,
it stopped when it got swallowed in the flames, all we inherited still burn.

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