At a point, everything in my home either burns or crumbles. Yet, I am alive, hoping the tomorrow we dreamt of, like a ghost, finds a perfect body to reclaim and flourish. This truth is weightier than grief on my tongue: My home, perhaps like yours, has been cruel to humanity. I asked a boy, an orphan, bathing the street with waters from his body, what led his pedigree to rest. He said it was a bullet from a drunk policeman’s riffle. Perhaps, on that day, his father must have gone out without good grace. Or it was fate that turned its back at him. However, you can’t live here without knowing the speed a bullet travels into the body, the count of bodies fallen and morphing into worms, the stench of unburied bodies somewhere in the field. You can’t build a tent here without resisting flame or tempest. Listen, the music of guns is playing in the street next to ours. Won’t you hide your body behind the door even though it's not a guarantee that you will see dusk? This country wants nothing from us but to mourn. And sometimes, this country wants us to be silent whilst dying. I cannot be tongue-tied when the world is not yet starved of air. I cannot breathe without inhaling the scent of a burning roof. Believe me: being alive to write this poem is by chance and if I was to christen it, it’d be Grace. It is grace that still holds your body together like a citrus in a home where everything sweet or sour dies on earth’s tongue.
Blessing Omeiza Ojo chairs Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation, Abuja. He has received nominations for Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize, the Creators of Justice Award, the Castello di Duino International Poetry and Theatre Competition, the Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest and the Korea-Nigeria Poetry Prize. He is a contributor to literary journals with poetry surfacing in The Last Girls Club, the Deadlands, Cọ́n-scìò, Split Lip, WRR and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing in schools within Abuja, Nigeria.