Her body is one long sigh

excerpts from Warsan Shire’s “teaching my mother how to give birth”

A.B. Godfreed
2 min readAug 6, 2022


photograph by A.B. Godfreed

my father was a drunk
he married my mother
hands were slow but urgent

i know a shame
that shrouds, totally engulfs
why did you not warn her?

my mother’s remains
were never buried
scent of a woman completely on fire

i have my mother’s mouth
and my father’s eyes on my face
i know she smiles at him

he lives alone now
frail, a living memory
i did not ask him to stay

to my daughter i will say
‘when the men come,
set yourself on fire’


This piece is composed solely out of phrases taken randomly from Warsan Shire’s (2011) “teaching my mother how to give birth”. This is another Amazon Germany purchase of mine. I bought it in 2017 — based on a friend’s spot-on recommendation.

Shire’s work is powerful stuff! She takes us on a roller coaster ride through great senses of desperation, defiance, despair, disgust, hope, horror, outrage, disgust, rebellion, shock and every other intense emotion imaginable.


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A.B. Godfreed

Non-Entity with a clear purpose to transform self (& perhaps the world) through critical consciousness and Love.