Sahro Ali is a Somali-Australian hybrid. Her work explores ghosts of the diaspora, memories and trauma. She is a managing editor at Kerosene Magazine, a fledgling literary magazine created by and for marginalised artists. Her work is forthcoming in an anthology of anti-Trump work called CONTRA, which will be published by Kerosene. She is inspired by the women in her life who encourage and cultivate radical writing. She hopes one day to make them proud. She tweets @sahroaIi.
In Morocco two girls are jailed for homosexuality.
My mother pulls apart my legs in fear with her
Where is my daughter? Is she here?
Mouth shut with hot wax, burbling and yellow
A bee’s nest has found itself in her throat & she tries
To cough it into me.
You are my daughter are you not?
Her friend tells her the best way to keep me safe is
To sew me shut, ‘a bird cannot fly if you clip its wings.’
My mother’s fingers shake around the needle and thread
She’s a quiet, polite madness, her cheeks fat with salve
I’m just trying to find my daughter I’m sorry
There’s something crawling down my stomach but it can’t
Find its way out, I stick my hand up my pussy one last time.
I birth a black dog, and let my mother lick the meat off its bones
A bee pops out onto the surgery table and I try to speak through
The honey in my mouth.
I put my hand on top of her shaking ones, teeth at the thread
Its fine you’ve found her.
Do you remember when your
Sternum was a holy pilgrimage
And your lips were his oasis
Do you recall the days you woke
Up without bruises the colour of
Do you remember your life before
You handed me the grocery list
Today and there were tear stains
Splattered on the paper
Milk, bread, tear stain, apple juice,
Tear stain, blueberries
I didn’t buy the blueberries
And you never noticed
I ate a girl out at school
Her name was Amira and
She smelt of vinegar and
Rosemary and I recited
Surah An Nisa between her
Thighs until my mouth was
Wet with semen and I couldn’t
Tell if she was a God or a Girl.
You say having a strong
Stomach runs in the family
And soon I will be housing
An entire generation inside
My belly and you are happy
As you say this as if you want
A boys hands dirtying my insides
You are so happy that later that
Night I cut open my belly
I once asked google am+i+like
+him, google said THERE IS
AN ERROR, then I asked you
And you said, ‘you have his smile’
I ate the sun today
Am I glowing?
My Family’s Inside Joke
When I am twelve the half-moon smiles down at me
And I am given a new body. I shrink into myself, my
Breasts fold, eyes sink into skin.
In my house religion precedes all & I wake up to myself
Drowning, a tusbah tethered to my ankle, jaw unhinged, a toilet
Bowl in the place where my mouth is supposed to be.
A Saudi Sheikh swears that daughters are your personalised
Ticket to Jannah. My father releases himself on my tongue
My mother does not notice & I swallow as an act of mourning for
My past self, my toothbrush is spoiled in the morning
I preserve myself by sticking a finger into my bellybutton
To me this is what trauma is: jam slick fingers fumbling with
A switchblade to shear a house cat, smearing my mouth with dark
Crayola, the 3 cocks I sucked last summer—two for my father and
One for God, to me its crawling into a foreign body and
Calling it mine