By Njikonye Charles N.
somewhere in the west of Africa, the sky is plummeting
its blue is smeared by terror, & every evening star, running
we swerve our tongues into cathedrals of prayers, for violence
gushes into each second like mercury, as if to imply that
what has come to be, has come to be. we spool individual faiths
around a grain of hope, as our fates sit
behind a knoll & we must climb. we’re clusters of mutinies—
bombs, erupting on one another, so frightening, the whole earth
becomes a firing squadron. don’t you see as the ordinances of society
plunge into unthinkable depths, rowing backwards into the embrace of
ruin? in this thicket, every person has a fraction of grief. our faces, a
conjunction of happy waters, & now bent into aridness, our memories
now like gravesites where unity & glee are past tense & buried.
In Gaza—my peers / flower into daises at the wit of missile rains.
just yesterday, we married a friend to a grave, dragging his headless
corpse out the same waters he was baptized in last week. I reckon
this plague seeks to mock the holiness of baptism, as if to
say, son, your sins still abide in these waters, come & sweep them
out. as if to say, son, offer yourself as a sacrificial lamb to truly delete your trespasses. & his headless carcass broadcasts how thick the fangs of
the furore has bitten mankind // a dagger & a pistol become metaphors for the holy bible, as if to say, a quicker way to terminate my foe, no
consultation with God. as if to say, screw dialogue, taste my fist, embrace violence! the eyes are never spared from the cycles & spoils of war.
my eyes curl its feet to symbolize its exhaustion in all it beholds, in every terror
scene it hastens to my brain for interpreting—of crimson visuals, of thick
pitch bad omens, of a country’s fleeting peace, of mothers burying
war-wounded children, of the people’s hypocritical inclination to the
abhor of terrorism. what a civilization! my father says the ache of
war breathes in the entire body & is heaviest at the chest, but I have
grown to negate his intellect, for in the plague of war, the thoughts
bruise the most, & on the future generations to come, the greater
bruise imprints. misuse & disuse, two terrible idiosyncrasies of power.
the former drags us into the mouth of terror, & the latter sits, stares—
watch us burn. watch us bleed. watch us clench onto a fraud of a
hope—rotten hope, greyish hope. our existence, embracing a
softer variety of death. all hail the rogue of people & power! tonight,
mother calls me to her room & smears my forehead with
holy oil. she declares, son, this will keep you safe. son, with this,
your body will never learn the colour of a bullet. my faith lags & my
conception growls in great disbelief, as if to alert, boy, dodge
the bullets / this ritual won’t make you invincible to the eyes of a pistol.
Njikonye Charles N. (he/him) is a writer & poet from Umuahia. He is one of the contributors to SpringNG Afro-eros anthology. His works have also appeared in Eremite Poetry, NantyGreens, and elsewhere. He aspires to be a medical doctor. Social media handles, @njikonyecharlie on Twitter and Instagram.