A Silver Child
Baba washes in the thin acetate of my rancid
cackle when he shows me a black and white photo.
Delicate between my fingers I hold this Claymation child,
emboldened with the scars of an unyielding breeze, a kidney-
finish bruising his cheeks and raised blood vessels
girdling his face into this expression: unblinking.
Here is my father staring down his self-exile.
I think he’s heard it somewhere before, my laughter
jewelled in concave, a soundwave of beaded opal
kids outside the headmaster’s office shimmering in the
lines of his forehead. He adds one part still, two parts sparkling water,
mixes the silver solution in his glass and drinks; toast to the
Never-child. Tonight, he tells me of the classroom and teachers
oblonged in white lab coats, their fingers chalky-grey,
pressing the collars of schoolchildren and pulling threads apart like
qat, their busy voices leaving doors ajar, and electric feet kicking
rubble like spores off the screaming plateau. On these visits,
seldom long, I like to imagine that the Nile divided
the makeshift football pitch; imagine my father emerging, his afro
untouched, the break of the shore filming over his smile,
verdant as the garden at the back of the shop, as Grandma
Weyzero washes down panes of glass in a town on the edge of
extinction. Here in this restaurant, waxed in a frame of candlelight,
years unfold their reams of white space, my father their most loyal
FAHAD AL-AMOUDI is a poet of Ethiopian and Yemeni heritage based in London. He is an Obsidian alumnus, graduate of the Writing Squad and member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen.