Pounded Yams and Ground Bones by Adamu Yahuza Abdullah

Illustration by Mimi Mutesa @mimimutesa

Here, skin is not the only outer covering,

there is grief too, an inextinguishable fire.

Whenever my sister left for the stream,

Mum would return to the skins of her ancestors

and swallow all the testament of dust. 

She would pierce her throat with all the prayers that

couldn’t breathe for my late brother. 

She said things don’t breathe here. Living is so much

a sacrilege. 

I will return to the brims of fire

melting in my palms and join her in quivering.

I have never once blamed her. 

A neighbor once returned with the dust from which her

pot was moulded and with her head basking

in the ruins of the wind for some alluring airs.

You see, there are things we should talk

about here but every part of us is embedded

into misery: The tongue is a tombstone where

bodies are laid to rest and the eyes; burdened

with flashes of bodies. 

Our systems are a collection of metaphors. 

And I sit again, reforming this body—

watching my speeches rot with the breeze. 

You walk with your limbs to the farm

and return as voices lost in their forms.

A man once hungered for his wife’s pounded

yam and ended up eating her ground bones.

Say, this poem is a fossil of the thunderous

storm that rolled my brethren’s life. Now,

I carry the night on my head like a heap of rust

searching for morning. The morning is a stranger.

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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