by Dagmawit Adamu



Hot air suffocates the room. Reminds me of when
I am small and inside mother’s belly. Reminds me

of what I don’t remember. I came out with the cord
wrapped around me like a necklace. Came out with

Death giving me kisses. Lullabies whispered in my
ear. Said everyone I was lucky. Said everyone we

could not have been two. Said everyone I am not
a killer. I must believe them. Mother believes them.

Mother believes them even though mother prays in 
halves. Splits my name when calling. Tells me I am 

the synthesis of her prey and predator. Grabs me
by the elbow, shows me the different hues of my 

skin. All the colors she could have been. Says
sometimes, I am not like myself. Sometimes, I

might as well be someone else. Sometimes, I
could be her. The soul never dies and so her

soul never dies and so she lives through me.
Once, I ask if she felt me prey. If she felt me 

say, today, I will be God; today, I will pick me.
Mother rolls the response in her mouth. Tucks 

the answer beneath her tongue. Takes it to her 
belly. Takes it to where I no longer belong. Says

what I want to hear instead. Soothes my ears.
A story of the moon and the sun. How they 

swallow each other like vitamin pills. They
are not preys. They are not predators. 

My eyes flash open. Outside, the moon 
devours the sun. Mother absentmindedly 

rubs her belly. It inhales. Assumes convex. 
My head rolls back. This time, I pray. 


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