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Mujahid Ameen Lilo: Portrait of my brother as my father

Portrait of my brother as my father

my brother salaams as he saunters into the house
and our hearts skip some beats
it’s the aura, the voice, the face
the gait as he tries to fill Baba’s shoes
kamar Baba wallahi
just like Baba, wallahi

my stepmom drew a deep sigh of grief
turns to me and says
Kama da wane bata wane
similarity is not the same as identity
there is an emptiness it can’t fill

this is how I describe the family tragedy
a fire outbreak in the sea
it can only be extinguished by God


Portrait of a House of Mourning

today, a section of the ceiling in our home
cracks and falls
the painting in our room starts
coming off in pieces
grandma says this is what happens
when the owner of a house dies
things begin to fall apart
the centre can no longer hold
for a father is The Wall
and this wall has fallen and
the shed has collapsed

this is how a house mourns its owner
this is how grief breaks a house
but how do children mourn their father
and how does grief break children?
this is a poem for another day

Poems by Mujahid Ameen Lilo
Image: Pixabay modified

Mujahid Ameen Lilo
Mujahid Ameen Lilo
Mujahid Ameen Lilo writes in English and Hausa. He majors in English Language at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His works have appeared in The Lagos Review, The Nigeria Review, Ebedi Review, Kalahari Review, Daily Trust, Praxis, Konya Shamsrumi and others. He won the Wole Soyinka Essay Competition 2019 and a two-time winner of the BUK Creative Writers Contest. A shortlistee of the Aminiya Trust Hausa Short Story Competition, Lilo is also the first runner-up of the Nigeria Prize for Teen Authors 2020. A 2021 recipient of the HIASFEST Star Prize for the most progressive teen author in Nigeria, Lilo was a guest at Katsina Books and Arts Festival 2021, Lagos Book and Arts Festival 2020.

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