Hibaq Osman

Hibaq Osman


You would always visit with a new word in hand. Say “this is orangensaft” and I’d nod, pretend I did not remember the many years of classes. I’d thank you for the word, for the gift and for the visit. I could tell you I understand more than you think. Or I could show you to the bedroom.

This was the last time I let someone else in beyond hurricanes of small talk. All my doors are closed, triple locked and do not allow a draft. Once, you asked me how long it would take me to get out in emergency. Out loud, I wondered where you thought I was going.

Winters in this house are warm, I’d turn it icy if I could. Welcome to the suffocation of loving me. All this heat is yet to leave. Pointing to the bathroom you say “badezimmer”, I repeat it. Yes, this is where all the blood flows. 

Or chamber of lost causes. A house for the knives and the child within me. Secrets that must never slip under the door frame. In the morning when you’d prepare to leave, I would take your sweater and beg: next time, do not bring the cold in with you. 

HIBAQ OSMAN is a Somali writer born and based in London. Her first pamphlet A Silence You Can Carry was published under Out-Spoken Press in 2015. In 2020, Hibaq released her first full poetry collection where the memory was with Jacaranda Books.