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BooksJuly 9, 2021

The Friday Poem: I’m Sure You’ve Heard, by Khadro Mohamed

baobab trees
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A new poem from Wellington poet Khadro Mohamed.

I’m Sure You’ve Heard

i’m sure you’ve heard, on the news, about the dead tomato fields, empty calderas and the droopy mountain tops that cast shadows over half-eaten sand.

i’m sure you’ve heard all about the bloated bellies, the broken alphabet, the dust-caked lashes and the long drawn-out breaths of the vultures that await your sleep.

i’m sure you’ve heard all about what death is like here, in the heart country, where footprints become disjointed and rise from the earth, where jet-black eyes stare off into the distance and mosquitos collect like tiny rain droplets on your skin.

but did you know that it’s also home to hordes of sheep and camel skin, who carry star constellations in the pit of their stomach? that it’s home to nomads who pick berries with their tongues, where pepper vines grow and defy gravity, where science dies, right there, at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro.

where wind pushes canoes over still water and the jagged outline of the coast bends and turns its spine, desperate to watch you sail. where oud strings are carried by the wind, where the songs of acacia leaves are hard to ignore, where the baobab silhouette sits over the horizon, watching, observing. where rose petals become jam, where zulu mats are crafted by the tiny dents in your fingers, where lions calls dent the night.

did you hear, though, that this place is where the earth canvas outward, where sand dunes bleed sunset hues, where water and milk are one and the same, where your heart is always awake, jolted and propelled into the turmeric-soaked air.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again later this year.

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