Sofia Samatar

The Hunchback's Mother

        "Then the demon seized the hunchback and turned him upside down, with his head stuck in the toilet and his feet up in the air… So much for the hunchback."
        — A Thousand and One Nights, translated by Husain Haddawy.

When he came home, the shit on him
had dried into a mask.
I had only enough water
to make it ooze and stink.

My child. My core.

I ran from door to door, please God
a little more water, a little more.

Sofia Samatar is a fantasy writer, poet and critic, and a PhD student in African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her debut novel, A Stranger in Olondria, is forthcoming from Small Beer Press in 2013. She blogs at