Baba’s prayer rugs are maps of floating colonies,
each are ram furs, sacrificed the day we got our names.
Fine-sand sipped through the fingers of a palmist,
he faces the rising sun and said a prayer for everyone lost to the flood.
In silence, we watched our parents,
until we became fluent in the language of grief.
A new country emerged from the shores after the flood,
and survivors were mistaken for tourists because they were half naked.
Sacrifices were made after each prayer,
until there was no rooster to usher the rise of the sun.
Feathers are enough to make any country float in the wind,
and like a broken magazine, each scar is a radio frequency for rescue.
Descendants of this floating colony are now cave builders.
On the walls, they left signs on how to keep lamps burning inside an ebb.
Because we cannot rely on the sky to shine light on us,
we held hands in prayer and called the circle a planet.
Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian poet and environmentalist. His poems are featured or forthcoming in Kenyon Review, POETRY, Transition Magazine and elsewhere. He is the author of a chapbook, Harp in a Fireplace (Newfound 2021) and an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Mississippi.