Umar’s sirwaal is ever-baggy.  Pick it up, mama would say, waryaa you look like a street boy on heat.

He would argue, until the reach of her hands proved fatal. Looped each finger inside a denim buckle, lifting upwards. The sky hoisted up on the seventh day. Pull up your pants and they won’t shoot. Pull up your pants, turn Mohammed into Mo. Remind him he is no longer boy. Was never, will never be boy enough, small enough.


A sky is a hole within a hole. A trail of hair shaped into a singular tear, finer than sugar refined, back home it’s bigger than a fist

bruises the bottom of a glass, its lip, my lip. His skin burns at her gaze, holds the tip

of a bomber jacket close. Camouflage.

The kind of green you want to hide in only exists in fairy-tales.

His indignant breath rising and falling, her lined hand flattened against a back.

Bear with her. This, the only thing she can straighten out. His belt now linear, a careful underline.

Be rigid, for now. Make the bridge of a spine your very own siraatul mustaqeem.

Lauryn sang it, straight from the book. Shot it straight from the hip.

Do it for us.