for rage and mahmud and the countless others

what are a field of somali boys but a prayer, a snake biting itself and somehow becoming whole and
what are our bodies but abdi again, meaning you belong to something, you are something’s
disjointed something’s only

somewhere, someone is being born and calling themselves abdi, meaning still obedient, still alive
what i would give to see you one last time, a whole body, still shimmering and undone
what i would give to not see your mother gouge the earth, and see you circle her,

even though you were already gone, and could not find a way back into your mortal body
there is a story of the birds who were torn, and made to dawn out of their ribcage, until they were
damp feathers and an abdi tried to put them together

i mean held them in his mouth, and uttered live, live, like he could create like he could will a dead
thing back
and my brother, also named abdi, leaves every day and somehow comes back

and don’t they gather, their muscles in sweat, don’t they gather at a court that may as well be their
unnamed uncharted world, at their feet, at their sneakered heel, who needs another ode to
basketball, this is an ode to the ways their bodies collide and no calamity happens yet

they stop for water, salat and return once again, to be doubles of each other gesture by gesture,
what does it mean to go into a world, and see your own face reflected back, call abdi, and have a
hundred answers

and god came down and pulled the feathers out of that man’s mouth, and made more birds, and
discreetly opened the ground, and dropped the carcasses in
and isn’t this why somalis keep bringing children into the world like damp feathers keep clinging to
them till their palms slice

and isn’t this why all the disappeared boys stay damp voids in their homes despite all the clamour, i
mean you can not noise a boy back

i remember the parents who tried to have other children, better children, ones that smiled more,
ones that were more afraid of the sun
and they were wealth but not in the ways anyone imagined, gold no one claimed, portable grief
made whole and living,

their fathers would call and call for them to return home
call abdi for the abdi that had gone, instead of samatar, or still here, or alive now, in place of call for
misplaced misnomers, till they learnt to respond, empty named children, open wounds