A Stranger at Dawn | By Asma’u Shaheedah

Unfamiliar, like a mother in-law’s kitchen
You were a stranger from the day we met.
We built bridges to cross between worlds
That fared better, apart.

We never could, make our way
Through an emotional maze
Lost in our daze
We tried to make haste

Professed love when the eyes that looked back
Twinkled death stars
You were a stranger
Even between my thighs

Why does “I love you” sound like a goodbye?
Why does “I miss you” sound like I’m begging you to stay?
You never could bring yourself to love a woman
But you promised a lifetime

I folded love in my mother’s tongue
And kissed you a song
Praying to God you would sing to me, my ode
Naive was I, the only sound from your mouth
Was a cry for home

The strangeness was your touch
You felt like an abandoned house
Hollow and empty
I cried you a river
Swam an ocean of love
Only to meet,
A stranger at dawn.