Poetry Archive

No lives

Photo by Yohann Lc on Unsplash
After Carl Dennis “Two Lives”

In my other life, my mother marries a man who loves her
Enough not to let his family dictate where her life is allowed to go
She takes my siblings and I to where she wants, when she wants
And isn’t bogged down by sisterly love.

My siblings and I go to dugsi with other kids at a masjid
Not far from home, where we never have a private Quran
Teacher who molests me for years.
The mail guy and that random family friend don’t either.

And my mother doesn’t have to let young men live
In our home so she can make rent as a single mother
And none of them molest me either.

In my other life, I grow up a normal child who doesn’t
Spend her whole life blaming her mother for everything
But in my other life, where my mother never married
My father—in that life I don’t exist at all
And that’s the sweetest dream.

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Filed under: Poetry Archive


Ladan Hadafow is a writer, poet, biologist, and educator. Tracing back her hometown is work reminiscent of phylogeny but start in Somalia, jump to Kenya, then Egypt, then Portland, OR and finally land in Minnesota where she hibernates through the nine months of winter. Ladan is a Leo, kdrama fiend, and a kindred soul to Yzma. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Papeachu Press and Gumbo Media.