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Self Portrait At Nineteen | Hassan Usman

Self Portrait At Nineteen | Hassan Usman

Hassan Usman

By Hassan Usman

it’s 5:00 in the morning. I tiptoe towards

the room’s oldest mirror in my birthday

suit, examining what parts of my father’s

silhouette I have carried into myself. I

throw my body into several equations,

solving for the closest I would equal to

a rooster. & this poem? a rough sheet saying

I have grown two inches taller, a line

that bloomed in the night, excluding my

third leg. I am still beardless &

unfit. my voice, stubborn, ever embracing

the antonyms of baritone. noon breaks on

my head. I wait, a pot of dandelions

on the table before me, on an altering,

one beyond the physicality of my portrait.

how I had imagined that on this day,

my heart would wear itself the fragrance of a marigold.

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I wove, in the glass room of my mind, newness.

it’s midnight. I must remake to elegance, become

a flock of flamingos.

my palms are fetching for a cluster of stars.

my bones sparkle. I have unlearned the art of staying

[too long] in darkness—

there’s so much light to take into oneself.


Hassan Usman, NGP 2/4, is an emerging poet from Lagos, Nigeria. He studies Counselor Education at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. His works are/forthcoming in Paper Lanterns, SprinNG, Trampset, Afrocritik, IceFloe Press, Olúmo Review, Five South, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, Lunaris Review, The Shallow Tales Review, Arts Lounge, BANSI Demi-gods Anthology, and elsewhere. He’s on Twitter and Instagram @Billio_speaks.

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  • Wow! Lovely to say the list.
    First is the immersive style. The choice of dictions and the way you wieve this craft to show us what you write is lovely. The imageries are vivid enough, even in the blooms of gloom. I love that.
    Also, the way you go about sending the message, without actually throwing it all at our faces, is laudable.
    Conclusively, you have written well.

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