Poetry London Clore Prize 2019: 2nd PRIZE

Amaan Hyder

duas

a dua for my mother the head girl / leaving school a year early to be married to move to england / the headmistress announcing it at morning assembly

a dua for my mother on the phone to her family / having to shout to be heard in the decades the lines to india were bad / my father’s family looming in the next room

a dua for my mother teaching me how to make daal / hindi pop in the background / a dua for the anorak she wears as an apron

a dua for my mother arguing at the embassy / needing a visa to visit her mother who is unwell / a dua for the woman in the line who tells my mother you are lucky / the woman’s father is already with allah

a dua for the flight / a dua for the plane that lands safely

a dua for my mother with her case / meeting her brother at arrivals / is she

a dua for the chorus of strays by the airport / their tails wagging no

a dua for the silent drive home / the roaring city

a dua for the friend who says she will wash our grandmother’s body

a dua for our mother who says no we will do it / her and her sister

a dua for my aunt who tells my mother / why did you say that / i didn’t want to do it

a dua for a burial

a dua for when she comes back to us / our mother

a dua for when she tells us she would have chosen to be a doctor / she wouldn’t have chosen our father / she would have chosen an earlier flight

a dua for when she tells us about her mother / she was a simple woman / you could tell her anything

a dua for when she sits on the chair in her room / our mother / the folding chair she uses only for praying / she can’t sit on the floor anymore / a dua for knees

a dua for godard’s a word is what’s unsaid / a dua for when there’s nothing but what’s said a dua for the patter of worry that wakes sleep / a dua for the loved ones

a dua for this country dashed with another