‘Graduation’ by Warda Yassin


As home dinners kids, we were there
when you become a wizard in your maroon cloak.
Our primary only a few feet across from the halfway house.
Four milk toothed daughters yoyoing off arms.
Was Zakariya born then? A cap fringed in gold.
It’s hard to be sure what was real. Maybe
you were a man in a house full of butterfly girls.
Ayeeyo living with us then, in the room near the toilet,
back when her henna feet would carry us all.
Behind the council’s forget-me-nots, Hooyo
flattens flyaways, swats fluff from your gown.
You beckon her to join the picture, and she shoos you
with her bangled arm. The noon sun hides
her maybe smile. Your eyes roll like dice
as she pushes you away. No, just you and the girls.
Stand with the girls Abdi
, and the way
we all just let it happen.

Warda Yassin is a British Somali poet . Her debut pamphlet Tea With Cardamom (Smith|Doorstop) won the 2018 New Poets Prize. Since submitting this poem, she has been announced as a winner of the 2020 Womens Poets’ Prize and is the current Sheffield Poet Laureate. Twitter @warda_ahy