An Inheritance

Safia Elhillo

Did our mothers invent loneliness or did it make them our mothers?
Were we fathered by silence or just looking to explain away this quiet?
Is it wasteful to pray for our brothers in a language they never learned?
Whose daughters are we if we grow old before our mothers?
For their sake they called our grandfathers the January children,
Lined up by the colonizer and assigned birth years by height
There is no answer because
We come from men who do not know when they were born
Who married women shown to them in photographs
Whose children left the country and tried for romance
And had daughters full of all the wrong language

Last updated September 27, 2022