What I remember of my country

Adamu Yahuza Abdullahi

By Adamu Yahuza Abdullahi

I don’t know how not to nurture silence.
Every time I write, I am reminded
that my country is a broken branch
of an olive tree that hangs in the ruin
of the wind. Today, the river I nurse inside
is swallowing me, I am fading from permanence.
Before I begin this poem, I promise myself I
won’t write about light. Because abstraction
is Blasphemy. & I’m a boy rattling
in the shadow of light — looking for a home
in between the spaces darkness has made. What if
we are nothing but accomplices of wrong seasons?
Like the boy splitting open to the night, I,
too, tried everything: sitting in the past, dreaming
of all the lights I can’t own before I learned
how to build silence out of myself. Before I learned
how to build myself out of silence. Before I
learned how to weave a galaxy of shadows
for my tears. So this morning when Pa stood
before the mirror holding hands with his shadow —
searching for exit route for his wounds, shedding off
his skin with gunfire — the tears that ran off his
chin turned into a flood swallowing our breaths.
Again, I scratch the ecstasy left in my body
into vowels, into silence. My brother entered
the room & saw me watching. I wanted to say,
do not question me about sanctity. Teach me about
ruin, about the tenderness of ruin, I won’t say I
own it. Because, sometimes in my country, the word
live is pronounced backwards. I want to know how
the body washes its tenderness into crooked seasons.
How every syllable in country crushes our morning
yawns. How a song is a song till it nestles on the lips
of my countrymen. Once, try singing this country’s
anthem and see if she won’t feign being an ocean
covering you with her tide. What I mean to say is,
here, there is a man in every household losing it
every night to keep his beloved alive. The gist is,
we are evenings that do not get to see
the breaking of dawn.

Adamu Yahuza Abdullahi, TPC V, THE PLOB, is an alumnus of SprinNG Writing Fellowship, a budding poet, and an aspiring researcher. He is a Best of The Net Nominee, a first runner-up for the Hassan Suleiman Gimba Enq poetry prize, a winner of the National Association of Kwara State Students (NAKSS), UDUS chapter harmony essay contest, 2023, a shortlistee of Gamji press board prime writing contest, News digest essay contest, UDUS, Splendors of dawn poetry foundation’s poetry and short story contest and an entrant of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP) top 50 poems of the year 2022. His works are published or forthcoming in— THE TEMZ REVIEW, Eunoia Review, Brittle paper, Arts Lounge, SprinNG, Teenlit journal, Rogue agents, Ninshar Arts, Last leaves, ONEBLACKBOYLIKETHAT REVIEW, SprinNG alum anthology, and many others. Of all things in the world, he values peace of mind.
Twitter @AdamuYahuzaAbd2
Instagram @Official_yahuzeey