Kemanji by Adamu Yahuza Abdullah

Illustration by Mimi Mutesa @mimimutesa

There are sojourners who never made it home. 

Bodies strapped with marks, 

voices wrapped in silence.

I reminisce about a man growing fresh in his wound. Outside a house—a tree perches. Creaking the house  and every breathe. Today, it is a head. 

Next, heads. 

The wind blows and washes my neighbor to dust. 

How does one sing a song? 

You start it and it ends you. 

Somewhere in our backyard, lies Yahaya Tanko 

his fossil left to experiment on. 

Dear good friend, tell the gods we’ve lost to the dominion of grief. 

Should I tell you something you didn’t know, perhaps? 

Here, there are Children searching for light to reveal them.

How long could a permeable thing probably hold a thing? 

I have lost count of the days we couldn’t visit the stream because it smells of a brethren’s blood. 

I know the faces of children crying at night. 

Children who never get to pay their parents’ last burial rites. 

Open this poem tomorrow- 

you will find a boy somewhere crawling his way into a crucifix of wounds. 

Shrapnels shaping his breath, chanting

kukuwereku alafiya. And that is how I wrote this poem—tracing every memory that gives away my name.

Adamu Yahuza Abdullahi is a budding poet from Kwara State, Nigeria. He is a lover of books and the people who write them. When he is not reading, he is writing & when he is not writing he is stuck in the day dreams of kemanji—his hometown, transforming into one of the renowned cities of the world.

His works have appeared or are forthcoming in national & international journals like: Synchronized chaos, Angel rust, Kalahari review, Arts Lounge, Teenlit journal, pine cone review, Borgu book club  and elsewhere.

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