The clouds coffee the world, the roofs of the houses in Benin dusk-struck, a colour that I would imagine in my head as the brown of a soldier’s boots slamming against a door somewhere in the north, no not a soldier, a rebel because it is easy to look at the rifle’s mouth and see the red of blood, to see the cruelty of man; where I grow up, a man with a rifle is a god; somewhere far from this place, a bird’s feathers split the vision of the moon in two, a boy speaks his wishes into a kite & lets it travel to God, If only we could fly our dreams that way in this city where our historians are grey bearded & fallen curtains across dirty walk ways; somewhere far from this place two lovers are hills casting shadows upon a sleeping ocean, their silence is air cutting air, is the image of another boy’s mother in her coffin, her hands gloved in white satin clothing, and boy thinks do angels wear gloves too to become this pure? but this city’s angels are unlit hurricane lamps in a dark room, but this city’s angels are broken wingless grubs.
My lover’s touch on my palm is the calmness of water in the eyes, is my father’s snore on cold lonely nights, is bliss the joy of birds, I say this is my mouth, there are no rainbows in it, these are my hands heavy with prayers unanswered; my lover laughs, and her ribs tweet like hundred birds in an orchard; I say this is my laughter filled with the names of ghosts, say the country is at war with itself like a child who wakes up to the lifeless body of its newly found butterfly.
The evening has no voice, God must be walking close to the earth. In the orchard a bird might mistake us for nature photographers. Our eyes wandering like stray bullets. The leaves hum the hymns of love beneath our feet. I say there is no love in a city at war only blood rushing to God’s feet. The birds tweet about their days. Can they engrave these dark stories of this city on their beaks? In the distance, we listen to another bomb roar up into the sky, and my lover mutters God, her voice a drizzle guitaring the earth on a silent night. The sirens swallow the world. I say these sirens can never wail louder than our mothers or the new ghosts sprouting from the fallen bodies.

Nome Emeka Patrick is a Nigerian artist who writes from a little room close to bird songs and banana trees. His works have been published or are forthcoming in Gaze Journal, Tuck Magazine, Antarctica Journal, Prachya Review, African Writer, Kalahari Review and others. He is a student of English language and literature at the University of Benin, Nigeria.

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