“Tonight” by Ladan Osman

Ladan Osman
(photo credit: Tariq Tarey)


(in celebration of 2015 (US) National Poetry Month)

I’ve been meaning to explore Ladan Osman’s poetry. Osman is Somali-American and her first collection of poetry, The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony, won the 2013 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets.

I spent a bit of the late afternoon today reading poems to my mother, who gently requested a reread of “Tonight” after she first heard it.  Osman’s poetry collection has been added to my To-Buy list pronto! Enjoy.


Tonight is a drunk man,
his dirty shirt.

There is no couple chatting by the recycling bins,
offering to help me unload my plastics.

There is not even the black and white cat
that balances elegantly on the lip of the dumpster.

There is only the smell of sour breath. Sweat on the collar of my shirt.
A water bottle rolling under a car.
Me in my too-small pajama pants stacking juice jugs on neighbors’ juice jugs.

I look to see if there is someone drinking on their balcony.

I tell myself I will wave.

– by Ladan Osman


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