Why do we pray if there is a destiny guiding lives
toward a dream, a climax.
The gathering of palms & whispering mouths--
awaiting the amen of a Lord
for the things absent in the scroll of their being.
I bet my father did the same,
shredding his tongue on God’s hearing for a life
long enough to quiz death--
only for disappearance to rip the sound of his body.
I saw little things about my father,
but I know a lot about him. Imam says,
in a Tawheed class, everything
meant for you comes at the end—even your grief.
Does this mean I will become
an ocean if I hold on to being still water on all the surface
that holds me?
There is a man in the sultry hours plowing the dry land
of his life for water.
& a woman feeding on the wheat of hope
while awaiting the stew
that will never come. The sky holds so many secrets
of this world blanketed
by the dust of God’s secret deeds. I wonder what crosses into
the thoughts of the Lord
when a man requests the heaven that would not grace
• • •
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ABDULKAREEM ABDULKAREEM (he/him), Frontier III, is a Nigerian writer and linguist. He holds a BA in linguistics from the University of Ilorin. He is a recipient of the 2023 Hill-Top Creative Writing Award for Excellence. He was shortlisted for the 2022 Vallum Poetry Award and longlisted for the 2023 Palette Poetry Previously Published Poetry Prize. He was nominated for the Best of the Net anthology three times in 2023. His works appear or are forthcoming in the National Museum of Language, POETRY, Transition, Mizna, Waxwing, Uncanny Magazine, Poetry Wales, SAND, Nat. Brut, West Trade Review, Lolwe, Isele, Qwerty Magazine, Shallow Tales Review, Nigeria News Direct, and elsewhere. He reads for Frontier Poetry.