Saddiq Dzukogi

Saddiq Dzukogi studied at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria. He has poems featured or forthcoming in literary publications such as: New Orleans Review, African American Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Juked, The Poetry Mail, Chiron Review, Vinyl Poetry, ELSEWHERE LIT’s anthology of contemporary African poetry, The Volta, Construction, Welter, among numerous others. He was a guest at the 2015 Writivism Festival in Uganda as well as at the Nigeria-Korea Poetry Feast in the same year. Saddiq is the Poetry Editor of the online journal, Expound and a three times a finalist in The Association of Nigerian Author’s Poetry Prize. Saddiq lives in Minna, Nigeria. He can be found @saddiqdzukogi.

father’s demise

the opaque face of things
like stone & water

& my extended family fighting
while the village expects us to soak

in a seawater of mourning
father’s demise is a dispersing light

I kept grumbling at the moment
of his passing my siblings each

are trying to hide their happiness
my shadow is only good at imitating

my posture only grandmother owned
a genuine grief the moon hanging

by the window is unable to wash off her sadness
night won’t penetrate her eyes

my father’s brother looks like he is hiding
his schemes intimate like a lonely wife & her pillow

he has always held what is father’s
in the same way a best man

looks at the bride he is secretly in love with
my mother once told her friend

he had come to her tiptoeing
wanting to wear my father’s shoes

but later found my mother’s body
a room too big for his foot

my mother didn’t know I broke the meaning
of her metaphor like she breaks kola

for those who have now come to mourn
sad stories are stretching the size

of our sitting room into a market
I locked myself in a dirty toilet

the stench there less
than a family’s hypocricy

space to trade with shadows

Like old silk, her rumbled palms
scrub my back – grass
over a river, a street is where
every orphan lives & picks a name

And, because she wanted to give me a name
she gave songs to nights afraid
of her frail voice  – silence
decides what space to trade with

Says a crescent is an arc
that grows flesh – turns into a circle
before its eyes dim at things
it’s seen far too much, cradles every
until it turns a flower for her
to pick into a vase

A storm moves through my bones
while her hair runs its teeth over my
She protects me in her arms
like a truly loved thing.

only the wind has a pure voice
and mirror is a frozen face
a lake, a night that reflects
traits of silence or silence silence

When the clock said

the day drops its golden statue
between us, and
a needle, to break through
the sun, reminds me of your rage

another time zone
another woman’s kiss

weaved you
five hours into the night
me stuck on the other side

in the space the distance
thin as a web, the thing that

takes 20 hrs flight to break
a calender singing, a liar

when the clock says
we are close

a telephone no bigger liar
says you are here, home in our house

How else do I explain this ability to hear you
better, even than our son in the kitchen

calling my name
We are the two ends
the explanation of days

full length, carrying morning to your doorstep

even when the clock insists
we are only five hours apart

from the start of my journey – still
not to see you in its face