Mubarak Said, TPC XII, SprinNG & SAF Alumni, is the winner of the 2023 Bill Ward Prize For Emerging Writers (Prose) and a Threposs Magazine-run poetry contest. He was also the 3rd runner-up in 2022 of the Bill Ward Prize for Emerging Writers (Poetry) and was longlisted for the Gimba Suleiman Hassan Esq Poetry Prize. He is a member of Jewel Literary and Creativity Foundation and Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation. His works are published in Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Spillwords, Eboquills, Fevers of the Mind and elsewhere.
The Other Name for a Heart Is Water
I only need a stone to make my heart strong
like a rock, instead of water. Tougher
than anything my mother says in her prayers.
Here, I'm learning to unmake myself at the shore.
I saw a boy picking sand to throw into his brother's eye
& to keep in the laboratory to examine the anatomy of his skull.
which means a shore is a womb that reshapes a boy's eye,
face and head; is a stream that refills the pocket of the sea
like my mother pouring the soup on rice & beans;
like my father dousing the garden of thorns
to nourish his mouth when he says Ya Ilahi
as the only phrase of ending & the new beginning.
But, what is the beginning if not a smile of God?
if not the kind of face the earth once wore?
I hold so many secrets and here's one:
The sun is pregnant. & any heart that doesn't know
how to gather stones like memories, is water.
& with an emptiness beneath my chest, I gather more
stones on the shore. So, whenever we call the rain
I'd pick one until I pour all my hope into prayer until I can't
remember how to cry again, until anything becomes dry like a new day.