Poetry by Olajide Salawu

January 13, 2024
2 mins read


By Olajide Salawu

May 13, 2015.


In Garissa, we expected

The story to change

But it does not. Knives

Are running through the necks

Fear is tearing through mind

Metal is slithering through the flesh.

In Damasak, we expect

The bird to fly. The space is windless

Instead it hops on the earth

A black fog occupies the sky

Angels of death haunt the night

The guns sing their song.

In Chibok, we expect

The children to return. Instead,

They send us funeral note

An elegy before a lullaby rhythm,

We start an hashtag revolution

And paint a Trojan war.

In Syria, when they want to go

To their death, they put on their jumpsuits

They celebrate blood carnival in Nineveh

Bones grow like trees

Night descends in a broad daylight

They also speak of God with sword in hand.


If we are burrowed by rodents’ spirits

If the moon keeps us in eternal darkness

If words refuse to form fire in our mouths

If our stories are written in hieroglyphs

If we climb the tree and refuse to sight the future

If our deltas produce blood and fears

If the world looks on unconcerned

If our umbrellas are made with human skins

If its handle is made of spine

If our branches grow like wires without electric charges

If the elephants come with their manifestoes

If the grasses under them suffer

 If we write a letter to God

If the priest does not append his signature

If the emperor is too busy flying falcons

If the empress is busy adding up her lipstick garage

If in a single sweep of broomstick

The land is rid of dirt.

Salawu is a Nigerian poet and writer. He blogs at http://zodml.org/

Poetry by Olajide Salawu

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