‘Learning About Constellations’ – a poem by Saddiq Dzukogi


Poetry And, the much-loved public events series at King’s chaired by Professor of Poetry Ruth Padel, is teaming up with the Obsidian Foundation – a new foundation for Black poets – for a free online event on 13th May, presented by Obsidian’s founder Nick Makoha and featuring Ariana Benson, Zakia Carpenter-Hall, and Saddiq Dzukogi. Event details, including how to get your free ticket, can be found here.


Below, Wild Court features a poem by Saddiq from his debut collection, Your Crib, My Qibla, published by University of Nebraska Press in March.



    Learning About Constellations


Today Baha is not dead; she is twelve years old,
sits beside a flower vase, presses her thumb to the clay.
Her heart buds into a magnificent sun,
waterfalls its warmth all over her satin face.
Taller than all her classmates,
in the corner she leans her head to white paper,
carves moons out of her notebook,
while other children
sit and listen to the teacher. The class
is learning about constellations.
She takes colors off a flower, folds it to her skin.
A chameleon gathering quotes from leaves,
she questions daisies, reveals all suggestions
when he stares into her eyes.
Baha grabs a speck of darkness,
molds it into a moth and places it in the darkest point
in his eyes. He sits close to his daughter in the yard—
join her and the moths. Baha is not dead—
she is walking her way into myth, a world
of new constellations where buried milk
nourishes the placenta to heal
his broken bones, broken eggshell of his heart, mend
each back together with the energy of a clock
that never stops moving backward.


Saddiq Dzukogi

About Saddiq Dzukogi

Saddiq Dzukogi is the author of 'Your Crib, My Qibla' (University of Nebraska Press, 2021). His chapbook 'Inside the Flower Room' was selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for APBF New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, Oxford Poetry, Poetry Society of America, Prairie Schooner and other literary journals and magazines. He is a finalist of Brunel International African Poetry Prize and a recipient of fellowships and Grants from Nebraska Arts Council, Pen America, Obsidian Foundation, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he is a PhD student and serves as an Assistant Poetry editor for Prairie Schooner.