In another world I want to be a father without
passing through the eternal insanity of mourning
my children, without experiencing the ritual
of watching my children return home as bodies
folded like a prayer mat, without spending my
nights telling them the stories of a hometown
where natives become aliens searching for
a shelter. I want my children to spread a mat
outside my house and play without the walls
of houses ripped by rifles. I want to watch my children
grow to recite the name of their homeland like Lord’s
Prayer, to frolic in the streets without being hunted like
animals in the bush, without being mobbed to death.
In another world I want my children to tame grasshoppers
in the field, to play with their dolls in the living room,
to inhale the fragrance of flowers waving as wind blows,
to see the birds measure the sky with their wings.


Rasaq Malik is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals, including Michigan Quarterly ReviewPoet LoreSpillwayRattleJunkedConnotation PressHEArt OnlineGrey SparrowJalada, and elsewhere. He is a two-time nominee for Best of the Net. He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2017.

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