Tough and Soft

Poetry / Zakiyyah Dzukogi

:: Tough and Soft ::

I’ll write poetry
tough and soft
on the toilet sit.
Like every spot on my neck
from the ones mother made,
I found poems,
stretchy like today's wind—
forgive them, read them.
Turn off your lamp,
this is one of my dreams.




From the writer

:: Account ::

This poem is one among my sim­ple, short poems. I gave “Tough and Soft” life on the night of 14 Jan­u­ary, 2021. It came about that night when I had a feel­ing about not writ­ing enough in the lan­guage of God. Writ­ing this poem makes me feel free from any rules attached to writ­ing poet­ry: it is ther­a­peu­tic. Poet­ry has always been. Poet­ry, whether “Tough or Soft,” should at least car­ry flowers.


Zakiyyah Dzuko­gi is a 17-year-old Niger­ian poet. She is the author of Carved (a poet­ry col­lec­tion), win­ner of the 2021 Nige­ria Prize for Teen Authors, a prize she had ear­li­er won the sec­ond-place posi­tion in 2020. She is a win­ner of the 2021 Brigitte Poir­son Poet­ry Prize, as well as the 2019 Splen­dors of Dawn Poet­ry Prize. Her works are pub­lished or forth­com­ing in Mel­bourne Cul­ture Cor­ner, Olney Mag­a­zine, Rig­or­ous, The Account, Mixed­Mag, The Beat­nik Cow­boy, Kala­hari Review, Spill­words, Sledge­ham­mer Lit, and others.