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.