Genealogy /static/ Abtiris Through Radio Transmission

A poem by award winning poet Sumia Jaama.



How the river, running, runs out of itself'

     Pablo Neruda. 'There is No Forgetting (Sonata)'

     Translated by Forrest Gander


Your grandfather’s:

  /static/ awoowe's voice is an alien airwave.


You’re stretching in Southend

      /static/ in Scheveningen —extending an arm,

       /static/ an antenna.


  Heavy waves break into white foam on this shore,

/static/ on his mouth. Your name is a boat sailing.



Lost in translation

/static/ lost at sea.

Never  mind you could swim’

     /static/ sing Soomaaliyeey toosoo since 97.

You chase a wave till it swallows

you. Hanging at the rear

   Your voice is the end of the sky

—an absent airwave.


About Sumia

A Barbican Young Poet Alumni (2017-18), Sumia Jaama is a linguist and programmer. Sumia often writes about exploring absence and what there is to discover about blank spaces in relation to ourselves. She has a BA in Arabic and English literature, and often runs workshops in secondary schools, festivals and as part of Keats House's Creative Writing Summer School.


Image: Pexels.

This poem was previously published in 2017 in the anthology 'Your Name Is A Boat'. It is shared with the permission of the author, Sumia Jaama. All rights of the author reserved.