Sleep Ghazal

Blessing Omeiza Ojo

By Blessing Omeiza Ojo

At the IDP camp, where my kitten wouldn’t agree to sleep,
I laid, missing my home, my mattress and sweet sleep.

Mosquitoes wouldn’t quit the making of music in my ears.
Afterward, they sucked me. It flew away; my sleep.

Yet, they chased me everywhere, even outside the tent.
What’s the botanical name of leaves that induce sleep?

I asked, forgetting that my grandmother wasn’t there with me.
Leaves rustled. There’s another man who, like me, didn’t sleep.

I walked a short distance more into the night, into the hands
of one of the armed men whose duty was to guard us while we sleep.

I asked for mosquito repellent cream or leaves.
At home, I had a net of tiny wedges under which I sleep.

The soldier didn’t answer me. I imagine he is impaired.
If bandits come attacking us, to survive, should I feign sleep?

Again, he didn’t answer. I am used to living with the challenged.
My best friend doesn’t talk. We sign all night before we sleep.

I say a prayer for him, for you: may you never stray away from home.
I woke up in the morning and my mother said I was talking in my sleep.

Blessing Omeiza Ojo, a black bard married to an Enchantress, chairs Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation, Abuja. He grew up in solitude, learning how to navigate through the sea of grief without drowning. He finds comfort in poetry and his faith in the resurrection of his losses. He teaches creative writing in schools within Abuja, Nigeria. He is a double winner, Maryam Aliyu Award for Best Male Teacher (2022, 2023).
Reach him on Instagram @ink_spiller_1.
Say hello on Twitter @donfox001