Poetry Shelf Occasional poems: Khadro Mohamed’s ‘saffron’



there is a fire
cloud in the air
crawling up the 
side of her 
forearms & mixing 
with the smell of 
onion & olive oil 
that makes the 
entire house sweat
like it’s the 
middle of a
hot african summer

i’m never sure 
what she’s making
it always feels 
like a secret.
but i trust 
that it will 
somehow remind me 
of something i 
thought i have 
forgotten & tucked 

she’ll say: 
the most important 
ingredient in somali 
cuisine is deep 
set curiosity & 
a sharp tongue 
she’ll say:
you have to 
get used to 
the zest of 
a lemon chopping
through the centre
of your lips 
& the deep 
orange stain of 
saffron that lingers
on the tips 
of your fingers 
like a light 
henna stain 
pressed delicately
on the night 
before eid 

& i smile 

& i believe her

because it’s easier 
that way 

Khadro Mohamed

Khadro Mohamed is a writer based in Wellington. Her work has appeared in various online magazines and websites including: Starling Magazine, Sweet Mammalian, Pantograph Punch, The Spinoff and more. Her newest body of work We’re All Made of Lightning published by Poneke based press We Are Babies, can be found in all good bookstores across the motu. 

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