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Halah Mohammed

Year Three, First Friday of July




On My Mama 


[Prelude]


May 22nd 

Happy Birthday to me and momma. You labored until the first prayer on Jumma. Named me "halo around the moon" after the first one you met because she predicted my existence and insisted you would name me after her. Shout out to that هالة for dreaming of me and for me. Shout out to you, momma, for dreaming for me and with me. You could have let me disperse into whispers when my father ghosted, pretended y'all glory couldn't exist in my person. I appreciate your heart when making that hard decision. Me today would not judge you if you did the opposite. I'm proud of you for going about the business of raising me, knowing our divinity was beyond human insecurity and avidly using your creativity to make that more felt than seen. You understood the power of textured things. You modeled in fancy chocolate the essence of being authentic, flawed-riddenly balancing chaos and rest. I admired you and I admire you still. Eyes closed on a rooftop, steadying my breath, while my spouse takes a pic got me thinking about watching sunrises with you in our Brooklyn apartment. How free it felt to be awake before most beings and in the grandest company--you, the sky, and me. - Halah Pee


[Poem]

I cry and cry and cry and cry and cry 

and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry 

and cry and cry and cry and cry 

Oh Allah 

Please intervene 

When I beg you 

To take me instead 

Still my naive big head 

The one that split my mother's rock 

Into fault lines 

Her jagged edges spilled wine 

When she crowned me 

Her soul so sure I'd be a boy 

Cracked a smile light wide 

Like big eyes 

When I looked 

Flying Saucer to flying saucer 

I screamed from the inertia 

My first star encounter 

You were so patient 

“Awwww you’re okay and safe. I got you.” 

How could you be so certain 

36 years of learning 

A minute in–

Nothing but clinging bits–

I was so green 

I ain't know what grass is 

And you a pasture 

Stretched beyond forever 

Always stood fa(r)ther and close up 

Like trick mirrors 


I cry and cry and cry and cry and cry 

and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry 

and cry and cry and cry and cry 

My knees tore up

From kneeling 

Looking like the consequences 

Of me running after school 

Outside the bars of the little playground 

Onto the street spilling wine 

And jagging my edges 

“Slow down, Pee!” 

But if I do I won't have enough time with you 

I ticked with your tocked 

I hated our moments apart 

Even asleep I'd wake to sneak 

Into bed with you just to smell you 

My favorite way to sense you 

Now a days you burn on my sensor 

I inhale you and exhale you 

While doing mundane things 

Like putting on socks 

Adjusting the coaster on the coffee table 

Returning home from a long day of work 

Watching Natalie swing her hips 

Making dinner 

A needed surprise 

She's full of ‘em 

Every day a wonder 

I'm here with her with you 

Above everything 

In the home we dreamed 

You watch us like your knittin’ 

How much of us is your stitchin’ 


I cry and cry and cry and cry and cry 

and cry and cry and cry and cry and cry 

and cry and cry and cry and cry 

You used to throw blows with me 

Afraid I wouldn't know how to 

Defend myself when you left 

You admitted just some months 

Before you discarded your vessel 

That you were scared 

The world would bend my light 

Every which way without my say 

And you refused to let me retract

Muscles bulging

“C’mon! Hit me, Halah!” 

Sounding like Mooney 

Your daddy the owner of shotgun Daisy 

Spent his last great years in NC 

On his soul's soil 

He twitched me for jumping on the bed

After he said don't do it twice 

“You gotta learn to listen” him 

“You gotta learn to fight” You 

Both scarring me to survive 

Hardening my drive 

So much so it took a breakdown 

And reboot to come back to life 

But on God I’m me 

And from you 

I’m seed to blooming tree 

With all these rings 

My halo sings 

They can't dim my light 

I cry and cry and cry and cry and cry 


I cry 




 

Halah Mohammed is a Black and queer writer, advisor and instructional designer. They were born and raised in Brooklyn, New York City. Halah’s mother introduced them to poetry through her collection of books and CDs by writers and performers such as Nikki Giovanni, Alice Walker, Lauryn Hill, India.Arie, Amel Larrieux and so many more. Inspired by those writers, Halah went on to write poetry and compete in district-wide poetry slams and perform at school events. While earning their BA in English Literature at Carleton College, Halah founded and co-led the Carleton Slam Poetry Collective, which participated in the Collegiate Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) at CU Boulder. In their senior year at Carleton, Halah was the only student awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. With their Watson Fellowship, they traveled to 7 countries exploring the power of storytelling through spoken word. 


While working in Denver for K-12 and higher education as an instructor, instructional designer, and academic advisor, Halah founded Denver Reflections. They published their creative writing there as well as on other writing and art platforms including the Intersections Zine and the Leon Art Gallery website. In 2023, Halah earned an MS in Organizational Performance & Workplace Learning at Boise State University. They use it to creatively and strategically help people and organizations transform their workplaces and workplace systems. Their forthcoming team-based white paper on design principles within a useful evaluation of a training module is one example of how they balance creativity, writing, and their love for learning. These days you can find Halah writing Denver Reflections, knitting for VDK, and consulting and advising through HIDL and Go Ask Halah. When Halah is not working, they are napping, cooking, traveling, volunteering, and playing DnD.

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