WHAT TO SAY TO THE BOY THAT ASKS FOR THE REMNANTS OF RAIN
here, we build houses with decayed, unburied bodies that forgot the other new ways to breathe in the land where flowers, too, are names given to the family of bullets that haunt the bodies that refuse to fall. see, maybe, when the sun's eyes become weary and darkness wears the crown, a masked face might ask if the graveyard is full, so he would unearth those that got their halves blessed to be buried in a grave as a way to shelter the remnants of his fallen body; an escape from being wholly flooded by the flooding water that holds the melanin of blood. you see, here, when children grow beards, they metamorphose into night heroes, visiting home after home, burying the mouths of their brothers with notes only to have the ballots thumbed on their strange rooms. today, let me tell you what to say to the boy that always asks for the remnants of rain, tell him here is a land turned to a Kalahari—a new desert formed by our unploughed prayers and burning wishes. if you like, snuff the monster out of your mouth and tell him about the remnants of the rain who could only be seen when we grind the satanic dots between what our mouths utter. tell him it could only wet our withered bodies when we bury the things hovering the arena in our craniums; things that are synonymous to building sandhouses together after the rain. such things beyond things like he gave us poetry when our eyes were searching for rain, or he taught us how to pray under the roofs where angels that carry in their mouth hymns sung from the heaven, stay. tell him you mean such things beyond what our hearts could feel. and the remnants of the orphaned rain is lying here between our ribs, sieving the dust trying to blur the eye's of this night would born.
when we were children, there was a man we used to climb, with a labyrinth of thoughts, that we would touch the sky. and, whenever we climb, he would promise taking us to another world—with birds, with trees; a kind where antelopes play a chase game with bats. and another day he would stand near our room, singing the alphabets of our names; with smiles, with delight, & in chorus, we would answer and climb, again. a day, week and a month passed, still waiting for the return of his soft whispers, but he didn't come, again. got tired and asked, “where is the man we used to climb?” and mother said, “you have sent him to become the moon; to the place where only the feet of stars step. and, i have seen in the notes written in his radiant eyes, a numbered tombstones of your dreams”.
Salim Yakubu Akko is a Nigerian writer, poet and essayist from Gombe state. He has been published in Applied Worldwide, Brittle Paper, The Pine Cone Review, World Voices Magazine and elsewhere. Akko’s work was shortlisted for the 2021 Bill Ward Prize for Emerging Writers. He is a member of the Gombe Jewel Writers Association, the Creative Club of Gombe State University, and the Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation. He is @AkkoSalim on Twitter.