BRINGBACKOURGIRLS

BringBackOurGirls is the trend. We sorrow over the abduction of our gems. They are the flowers we nurture every day. They represent our collective struggles and days of hunger. We struggle to send them to schools – with the hope that they will soar and do us proud. They will come to pay back. They will remember us and their country. We hope that they will become good ambassadors. But this is a country where lives are like matchsticks. They have enslaved our daughters. We are still searching for the moon in the eye of the sky.

I ALSO SING

I also sing of BringBackOurGirls
in a house where bombers are
popular tenants

I also sing of BringBackOurGirls
in a country where bullets are
weevils that burrow the bellies
and murder the moon of a sad night

II

So I learn to write poems for those
who die without coffins
in a country where leaders
loot and litter the streets
with bones and blood
of those who forget their
names in the market of memory

Rafiat, a woman dies with her
children watching how they
pack their mother with blood –
robed attire –
as they carry our experiement
on the burnt bodies of those
with lost fingers, lost heads
and chopped legs

Julius, a shoemaker
struggles to nail the shoes
as the bombs bury shops
and streets

May they all rest in peace
together with their dreams

III

I also learn to hold roses
to the cemetery where
dust to dust is a slogan

even when the young die
dust to dust is still a voice
to be heard

IV

So if they bomb houses
where poets live

tell them to remember the books
they may not be able to turn into
ashes –

for we live in death

                          ***

So if they bomb the houses
where poets live with images
of their families

flipping
as they remember the country
that promises to award cups
of tears to us

as they remember the days
when lives are buried every
second as the precious faces
bow like tendrils in the path
of the wind.

So if they bomb the houses
of the poets

they will not be able to turn
our words into posters
beneath the stoves

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