Questions and Answers س و ج
what do you know about home? – س
i know of voices that swivel into purple song, – ج
tongues forced to sleep under the clouds of their mouth
like how قل — to say in Arabic, mutate to hold your tongue hostage
when I say it in Hausa, عقل.
what do you know about the water? – س
i know it waits for bodies of men by the river, – ج
to be thrown when their tongues pronounce tsaro, security,
with air rolling into the thinnest door between their lips to say tsoro, fear.
what do you know about war? – س
i know of how it seeps hope out of the vein – ج
of a country’s name, out of the barricade of a child’s dream
and makes of the mother’s heart a garden the size of her child’s grave.
Zaynab Iliyasu Bobi, Frontier I, is a Nigerian-Hausa poet, digital artist and photographer from Bobi. She is a student of Medical Laboratory Science at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, winner of the Gimba Suleiman Hassan Gimba ESQ Poetry Prize 2022, a Pushcart and BOTN Nominee with works in Strange Horizons, FIYAH, Native Skin, The Drift, Lucent Dreaming, Agbowó, Omenana Magazine, and elsewhere.