Amina Jama

boqoradda caraweelo


o the stiffness,
of the throat
of the land

the hoarse voice surrendering to its closing
we are stuck in this moment of buraan
a drought to end all other droughts
cleo asks us how we came to be in this position
once, the entire world came to our shores
for our fish, and our gold

we carved our own hair picks, afros enough
to cover the continent
the music that escaped from us had not yet
been discovered by the rest of the world
o the stiffness, of the hair, the notes
now the throats, the land

it will turn into the entire somalia if we let it
the wells are dried up, and have sealed themselves
for fear of watching our destruction
we were taught to bow to nature,
what have you offered her this month?
the drying of the people, that’s what
they have become
horizontal lines you come across amongst the weeds

o the stiffness of this drought, this buraan


15 AD

caraweelo is crowned
voice reports ripple across the country
a woman is now their leader

the people reject her,
in unison they humm a c-1
the deepest note of them all

we are not ready for a woman they say
she replies you were not ready for death either
or nomadity but now you have found yourself
living amongst both

caraweelo travels, meeting as many as she can
kismaayo, las anood, moqadishu, las geel, hargeisa, toghdeer

it was reported that once
she saved an entire village from a lion
wrestled that mane to the ground
it was reported that once
she saved a wife from her husband
wrestled that mane to the ground

they say she was too woman
too harsh, too ruthless, too angry
before the world began to equate black womxnhood
with anger, the people of somalia
wrote the guidelines

once, her husband tried to overthrow her
with other men, and their loud voices,
caraweelo suffocated him
like he was the patriarchy

they called her a monster

i worry i gave caraweelo the idea for castrating men
on a monday morning, we follow a beginners yoga tutorial
dual mats facing the window
i struggle, while she effortlessly glides through to the downward dog
her crown grazing the mat
we laugh about men
how they feel the need to shout
and control, in any situation
caraweelo wants to make a statement of her husband

on the tuesday, like medusa she seduces him
then leaves his body in uncompromising positions
like stone or yoga, he is in an involuntary headstand

they called her a monster
she called herself a leader
led the people out of buraan, that drought
led the womxn out of the kitchen, that heat
for many, she was the worst leader or the best
until they met siad



the people are calling for change
the men have adopted yoga positions and turned it into a game
of genocide

o the dryness
of the land
of the people
we are constantly in flux

i wonder how the country has the longest coast line
an unbundant amount of access to water and fish
but the dryest land and crops

o siad
the people asked you to stop
and you did not

so they flee
some to europe
others from states to states
all away from home
cassette tapes are buried
along with bodies
they should have never questioned caraweelo in the first place

all hell breaks loose
the people think dajjal has arrived
or iblis, the devil
they see the moon split like the land
ya’juj and ma’juj
isa descending into damascus
a cloud of smoke
yawm al qiyamah
the day of reckoning
they thought it was iblis, the devil
but it was just siad

o as somal
bring back caraweelo


Amina Jama is a Somali-British writer currently studying for my BA English with Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University. She is an alumna of Barbican Young Poetry, member of Octavia Poetry Collective and co-host of BoxedIN poetry night. She has completed residencies and performed internationally with Speaking Volumes and been commissioned by the BBC, The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace and the Mayor of London’s Office. Her poems for both adults and children have been anthologised, including in Saqi Books’ The Things I Would Tell You, edited by Sabrina Mahfouz.