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Stay Till the Dawn, You Might Get the Sun, a Poem by Fatima Abdullahi*

I gave my country a home in my chest.

With my first cry and my father's signature,

I stamped my mark into its soil,

& clothed myself with the flag

that chooses when to recognize me.

The bones of my country are meatless, stripped

bare. They say I should not believe in my country;

abandon all hope, all ye who enter here

That my country will wrap itself around the sharp

edges of my fear & commit to the plunge.

They say my country will count my disappointment

like notches on a bedpost: here violence, here poverty,

here inequality. Here, power that corrupts, here, terrorism

& a thousand candles to light for all my fallen people.

They say:

Where were you before grief found you?

In my country's belly, seeking the leftovers of my kin.

They say:

Where were you before hope found you?

At my country's borders, one foot held over the line—praying

that the seeds of my yesterday, finally become

petals in the sun.


*Second runner-up: 2023 Valiant Scribe Poetry Competition

Fatima Abdullahi is a Nigerian writer, poet and photographer. A lover of books and quiet corners, she believes firmly in the power of storytelling in all mediums and how it can be used to shape lives, and uses her works to explore the dynamics of love, loss, hope and memory. Her works have been published in a variety of platforms, including: Dark Matter Magazine, Lunaris Review, The Decolonial Passage, Libretto Magazine, The Last Stanza Poetry Journal, The Poetry Nook, The Best of Africa Journal, EboQuills Literary, Arkore Writes and more. She tweets @solitarywriter_


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