NaPoWriMo Day 23: Salma Yusuf – Let an animal ignite your poem

Today Salma Yusuf demonstrates how we can use an animal or animated figure to explore complex issues. Listen as Salma gives the background to this poem and consider how you could use this technique to write about feelings or experiences that might otherwise be hard to address.

How the divorce came

It did not knock on any door
It just bumped into us
in the middle of intimacy
We were still trying to cover ourselves
a bit of bedsheet here and a bit of quilt there.

The chandeliers juddered
The taps and sinks rusted
The buckets leaked
The house caught fire
Letters and pictures became embers.

It came prepared for war
writhed in pain
destroyed everything that we built for years
The dreamlike ambience of our home
had slowly transformed into a ball of cashmere.

We held hands but the wick of our candle
was not enough to defeat the dragon
They say that love is the lightning
that can strike seas and valleys
I hold a burnt portrait of you
holding the sadabahar flower
It was the first time we met.

I don’t remember how the dragon left
But I remember the aftermath
I opened my eyes
The blind man next door was blowing into his flute
I was still holding the portrait
this time I could only see the sadabahar flower
It was the last time we met.

Salma Yusuf

Salma Yusuf is a Postgraduate Taught Student at the University of East Anglia pursuing an MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) as the 2021 recipient of the Global Voices Scholarship. Her poetry has appeared in Lolwe, Doek and Ink, Sweat & Tears, among others.

Please share your responses to today’s prompt either in the comments or via email. The best submissions will be featured in future podcasts.

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