'Now he answers to everything that reminds him of her'

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In this moving elegy to his infant daughter, Saddiq Dzukogi reminds us of how complex grief can be. The body’s responses to grief offer a way for us to cope with its deep pain. Here, the poem, 'So Much Memory', is a tender performance in which the poet, beautifully and hopefully, seeks to capture the lingering song of his daughter’s memory.



by Saddiq Dzukogi


Now he answers to everything that reminds him of her,

a crib rocking, a circle of faces

crowing at him. He can neither leave his eyes open

nor shut them. Splits the night

walking between two cornfields, striding

like he’s going for the thing he’ll never find.

See how he runs his hands over his body,

how his skin peels. After a night of crying,

he can feel her limbs in his palms,

versified, nothing made of flesh;

nothing made of bone. He opens his mind

and lets the leaves be his skin

and lets a song fall inside another song:

it mimics his daughter’s voice.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2021 by Saddiq Dzukogi, 'So Much Memory' from Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press, 2021.) Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2022 by the Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska

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