Mourning; Dance of One by A’ishat Yahkub

Mourning: dance of one

I dance in the puddles, barefoot

Going where the water lures me

My steps shatter the moon’s fragile reflection 

Into shards of dying light.

In the mouth of this dark waters, home to broken things, 

I let the rhythm of the ripples, rising in welcome, cleanse my fragmented soul

Maybe I can still be made whole.

In defiance of the laws impressed on this soil beneath me,

I levitate, glide 

Through this void

Whatever I touch slips 


I’m surrounded by bodies

But there’s no warmth here

Come, come take me. It’s dark out here.

I hear the crickets and cradle their delicate song to my bosom

I’m a hoarder

Seeking to possess that which I cannot own 

to feed this 

hollowness I’ve learnt to nurture so well

The earth though, bless it

tells me it does not belong to me, that

Nothing belongs

To me

Voice weary and ancient, like it had done this over and over;

tender and patient too, as though explaining to a child,

how the day pours into night

And what was I, but a child?

Like a fool, delirious, desperate

I did not take heed, I

Held on, grasping, grasping

At the fluttering, slippery hem of its dance

Convinced this one thing could belong to me

that I could make it mine.

And would you know, everything I’ve loved, 

I’ve loved dead 

or dying;

Held in these arms

that have known, caressed 

nothing but transient ruin and decay.

And so I demand from the wind, whose howl of woe inhabits my throat,

What is the metaphor for continuous, relentless grief? 

Here I am,

A body 

that has only existed, possessed

by mourning, 

this body 

all teeth and tongue and emptiness, 

does not remember how to cradle

Something made of breath.

Water, with it’s consuming hunger and intense life, slithers

away, becomes graspless 

in my desperate, yearning palms.

And oh, do I wonder what loving a thing swollen 

with life would do to me, make of me.

Aishat Yahkub is a Nigerian creative, poet, bookworm, art lover and medical student. Her poems have been published in Brittle paper, Agbowó, visual verse and nightshade lit. Her works explore the fluidity of identity and portrayal of “home”, through her cast of outcasts. When she’s not reverentially appreciating exquisite poetry and art, she practices stillness and escapes into dreams.

Scroll to Top