7812. Sagirah Shahid

The author, Sagirah Shahid with her late grandmother, Aziza Abdul-Wadud, affectionately called  "Umm" by those who loved her. 

Sagirah Shahid is a Black Muslim writer and educator from Minneapolis, MN. Her fiction and poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Juked, Paper Darts, Winter Tangerine, Mizna, Puerto Del Sol, and elsewhere. She is currently at work on a first book of poetry.

Dhu’l-Hijjah Pastoral


For Umm


I didn’t fast the day I was supposed to

or notice the distance between the little mole

flung between your eyebrows.


When it mattered most, the sky was indigo

the clouds became a kind of gauze

absorbing the blood-orange sun.


There’s a pilgrimage

happening, just now my mind went back to your hometown in Mississippi

did it have Blue-eyed Grass too? What were you dreaming of


the night of your departure? Millions of people will dress themselves in white garments and ascend upon a single mountaintop to recite: Here I am my lord, here I am.


Imagine, their voices drifting upward and away from the mountain, like dandelion seeds. Imagine

each year whispering on about you. I can’t

unwrap the parts of this that will haunt me forever, from the parts of you that are holy.