Wi-Fi in a Cemetery

Hussain Ahmed

When they found him, he was without his eyes.There is a need for free Wi-Fi                             in allthe cemeteries across this country.Every day, a dead man is assumed on a journey,and nobody wants to check their friendswhere only ashes                 could be found.I lost a friend one Eid,we cheered as he dove into the river.Today, history is our enemywith spears and spades in place of forks and spoons.I stare at my phone, expecting a call from my drowned friend.We sit on a bench                wrapped in the blooming fragrance of despair,expectant of a miracle, and a verse of the Qur'an to calm the firethat comes with prophecies.We are yet to master the art of mourning, so no one cries.Praise the sky, for how well it mourns.We rehearsed how to break the news when we get home.That day, we became men with bibs under our chins.We folded the grief in our pockets. The news got to his mamabefore we got home. I still expect an angel to knock on our door,before the pain slips away, before we decide who wears his clothes.

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Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian poet and environmentalist. He holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Mississippi and currently a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati. His poems are featured in Poetry Magazine, The Kenyon Review, A Public Space, American Poetry Review and elsewhere. He is a winner of the 2022 Orison Poetry Prize, 2023 finalist for the University of Wisconsin Press’s Brittingham Prize and Felix Pollak Prize poetry competition and several others. He is the author of Soliloquy with the Ghosts in Nile (Black Ocean Press, 2022).

Somerville, Massachusetts

“In a soliloquy a voice speaks alone, and yet this voice is never lonely, so deeply and committedly does it speak to a listener or reader. I felt trusted and welcomed into intimacy by these deeply lyrical and musical poems. 'I was born to make a map,' the poet says. I feel grateful to have it in my hand.”
— Kazim Ali

“Hussain Ahmed’s Soliloquy with the Ghosts in Nile sings in prayer, remembrance, and embrace. These poems, of a survivor seeking to honor the lost, undo and remake language into a new apparatus with which to love and carry the dead. These poems are caretakers of memory, lush and in love with the world, even in war, even in grief. ‘The moon shines brightest during the curfew,’ Ahmed writes. ‘There are more birds in the sky during the war.’”
— Melissa Ginsburg, author of Dear Weather Ghost

Soliloquy is a book of poetry that inhabits a transitional realm that is both emotional and physical. The poems contain a familiar yet transcending character, as though they recognize the wounds we bear during our daily encounters yet do not perceive. Hussain re-imagines grief, encouraging us to see the aesthetics of anxiety.”
— Jumoke Verissimo, author of I am Memory

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