“Complete Facts about a Woman I Love Dearly” by Idman Omar

Idman Omar


At nine years old, a woman I love made tea as
men married her off to an eighteen-year-old gent.
At fourteen she moved in. Her husband’s two front teeth


were now red from fluoride, a personal collection of
precious gemstones, or a reminder of roses she was owed
each time he took a new wife. There were ten


in total, each woman a password unlocked with his
name; a hungry thinker, preoccupied with numerous mixed berry pies.
She was strong and built a family of nine


troubled children. Three slipped down the toilet even though
she clenched her mouth too. She had five siblings, same
mother and father, and six more from dad and second


best. She was fifty-three when her husband died,
alone and living in snow. As if uncertain of the
heat of affection anymore or like
a ghost kissed her brain,
she couldn’t remember any of the children for
whom she had lived.

from Rattle #78, Winter 2022


Idman Omar: “I wrote this poem thinking about all the Somali women from my grandmother’s generation whose lives were very different to mine. It’s about the sacrifices they make simply to survive, ending up perpetually nomads for their whole lives and following a life plan that they don’t map out for themselves at all. Ultimately, they live eternally for everyone but themselves.”

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