conversations with my mother on the prayer mat
allahu akbar/ this might be a poem/ where its end/ is a pyre/ where fears replace corpses/ and promises of a miracle burn./ on mornings/ like these/ i find myself/ on a prayer mat/ a journey/ i begin/ with a damp body/ in and out/ my troubled spirit/ seek answers/ in the embrace of wuduu/ heaviness replaces my soles/ and my voice/ becomes a stranger/ iqamah/ thoughts seep in/ and ordinary names/ don't do them justice./ i remember you/ ìyá bejì/ your face/ melting my worries to sand/ your lips/ a smile/ then a line/ then a verse/ then a supplication / táyélolú, rántí./ i / a wall/ ruku'u/ your words/ subhana rabbi al adheem/ i remember the first time/ you taught me/ to pray/ to find an anchor/ in the unknown/ to be a testament/ of elements/ that latch on to hope/ even in the dark./màámi, mo kúkú rántí/ how threads/ of your light/ morphed into strings/ then knots/ then these knees/ then the ground/ subhanah rabbi al a'ala/ how like the skies/ i fell/ and clouds/ nested on my back/ is this how/ a boy/ learns/ the science of diffusion?/ carry my hands, mother/ can you feel the hollow/ in their bones? / hold each finger/ the cold on every nail/ is this where i let you go?/ where i melt into everything/ but peace?/but you?/ asalam alaikum warahmatullah.
Taiwo Hassan (he/him) is a writer of Yorùbá descent, a poet, and a vocalist. A Best of the Net Nominee, his poems have appeared in trampset, Lucent Dreaming, Brittle Paper, Dust Poetry Magazine, Ice Floe Press, Shallow Tales Review, Second Skin Magazine, Warning Lines, Augment Review, Madrigal Press, Nigerian NewsDirect, Praxis Magazine, Wizards In Space, and several other places. He emerged as the first runner-up for the MANI 10 year anniversary Poetry Competition. A poetry editor at Jupiter Review, he's also an undergraduate student of Demography and Social Statistics at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ilé-Ifẹ̀, Osun State, Nigeria. His first chapbook, Birds Don't Fly For Pleasure is forthcoming for publication by River Glass Books.