top of page



Silence murdered the tongues
Of our mothers & poured their
Souls in a jar of violent chaos

I told Mother that Rumi declared
That silence has so much to say
The words that oozed from her smile
Compelled me to sit and drink from

Her spring of rare wisdom

She said Rumi was a God of words
He created and took their lives as he pleased
But he never knew the true colours of silence

Black: The woman whose husband fled due
To poverty; loneliness made love to her
Every night and she’d take breakfast with the
Cries of her children every morning as
The storm of hunger devoured their souls

Blue black: The father, mother & their children
Drowned in the abyss of nowhere, running
Away from the dark hurricane of banditry


Blue violet: The infant violated by her uncle &
Her father had to roll a rope of silence around
His tongue; because men don’t marry black
Sheep into their family; It is in the scriptures

Zaria, 2021


“Greed is the gateway to misery”
—Abubakar Imam

The only word my mother spits on repeat
Even when chaos crawls through the pores
Of her melanin dripping skin is silence

Sometimes I wish words would choke her throat
And the only remedy would be vomiting them
Until our house is flooded with their presence

Until one day the sun refused to shine its soft
Spell on the torso of mother earth & poverty
Threatened to eat away the pillars of our home

Mother told me to find a way to sprinkle some
Wealth on the flame of hunger hovering around
Our existence, even though she knew I was drowning

In the abyss of void & death was at its shore
I picked a backpack of hope on my right shoulder

And that of her blessings on the left one

“A man’s share does not ascend the skies
Even if it did, it would come down with its legs
God blessed him with no wings for a reason”

These are the only words that walked out of
Mother’s mouth & I grasped & hanged them in
My heart’s bedroom like the gospel that they are

Zaria, 2021

Abduljalal Musa Aliyu is a school teacher, poet and short story writer from Zaria, Nigeria. His works have appeared in PIN - Poets in Nigeria and Campus Watch. He received the third prize for PIN’s 2020 Poetically Written Prose Contest.

bottom of page