Questions and Answers, by Zaynab Iliyasu Bobi

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.

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