Efia Dalili

Three Poems

Tropic of Cancer

August 1, 2046
That extra-terrestrial creature
Tanks missiles
The Bara market
The warriors away from their babies
Beloved, Zawaidi and Sauda
Witnessed the bursting ripple
The still air whimpered
Tree frogs sang to each other
Lovers quarreled elsewhere
Standing on one leg
Someone picked her nose
Like slo mo lasses
It rained a summer storm brewing
Madly dancing leaves
spun into a gust of mercurial change


A Cloud Unzipped

Everything undulated
Where stale smelling dwellings
Sunken roads land mines
And drunken drones hover
Over homes and broken sidewalks
Fold into each other
A cloud unzipped
The metal shower formed gray ponds


If You

There had to be something wrong
People seemed too happy
So pardon me while I throw this in
Some who had less exposure
To the Blue RadEx Lunar
Had to be inoculated
A new liquid remedy
For the time being
RadEx Lunar still rained sometimes
It had to rain
If you have forgotten how to
whisper love tones
If you think it’s too difficult
To learn another’s language
Like the language of dolphins
The one they speak now
Without a translator
Stop by your local chemical trader
Pick up some Blue RadEx
Bring it home to your friends.
Surrender to the liquid dance
Don’t forget
Squish your toes in the glowing gray mud
Return to that spot
Push through the dirt
by your heart’s heat
and the clear sting of your song



Efia N. Dalili is an African arts educator in Baltimore. She is an equity and inclusion practitioner and teaches Upper School English at McDonogh School. Dalili studies vernacular health systems and beliefs, works as a breastfeeding peer counselor and doula, and performs traditional African dance. She lives in Randallstown, Maryland with her family.