a tiring verb. daily, in the morning, tug the edge of your soul: still a tight knot? still a tight knot, firm enough to survive? pluck your eyes and place them on the soiled ceramic plate. drag a knife to its centre. flinch at the heat of the knife’s edges. no, don’t cut. just see if your eyes are capable of a new day’s gory sights.

complete it: raise the plate containing your eyes to the ceiling. dare not to complain. of course, the light bulbs would be off. your retina clamouring for light, trace the merciful sunlight’s trail. draw the curtains, ignore your daughter screaming “Ghost, Ghost!” as she notices what you did to your eye. see, survival is ghostly. ghostlier when you wish to maintain her chubby cheeks and fill her head with sweeter things. Your daughter, Nwenenda, ashamed to be Nigerian, calls herself Wendy, an additional dollar sign lies on her social media handles.

open the windows, place your eyes back in its sockets. see the sky no longer holds its blue or palettes of abundance holding reddish orange and pink and whatever. Whatever. remember yesterday’s sight: a rain of dollars from the politician. recall bodies and sweat and screams and the smashing of babies heads. today, find a city of smoke, seeds of blood in its winds.  blood and blood and rolling heads and knives of religion. Bullets of tribe.

dare not to complain. watch leaders yawn as they express condolences. watch them resume their blame games, rolling your taxes and dreams as dice. watch them fatten until their necks are invisible. never believe that in a few years to come, Nwenenda would replace the Lord with Nigeria in a chorus at church: “Since I was born and now I am getting old, I have never seen Nigeria changeth.”

Categories: Poetry