In solidarity with Black Lives Matter, TNB Poetry has created this space for BIPOC voices to shine. We will be publishing work by Black poets daily.  Black Lives Matter.


You knew your time was short and Umi discovered this news too. She said on one of your first dates she read your lifeline and it barely reached the base of your thumb. Somehow I knew.

Do you remember how I used to say that I wouldn’t get married unless you would officiate? I don’t know how I knew, or whether I thought this ultimatum would preserve you.

Perhaps knowing that I was in good male hands would grant us both peace

Now I see your valor as a perfectly human man.

They are building tunnels, and cells, and tombs for us each day. And each day you would pray as a perfectly human man. Rose up for all of us knowing what you knew. What I now soul crushingly know.

I don’t remember you ever being afraid. Solemn, and tired, and angry, but never afraid.

And for this I see your valor as a perfectly human man.

I have your face and sometimes it hurts Umi to look at me. I have your quiet bookish ways and your rage and your preference for solitude too. I have your Quran and Sunnah library that I may never read, and they are after me for having dignity.

But for you it was never about them, it was about your soul. I hope to make it about my heart.

Despite it all, or maybe because of it, as your kindly voicemail used to say, I will have a lovely day.

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