“we left when home became a portrait of pain” by Sodiq Oyekanmi

Image by Jerry A from Pixabay

we left when home became a portrait of pain.
(after Razaq Malik Gbolahan, No Home In This Land) we left when threnodies substituted our lullabies; when the aroma of burnt bodies filled the air we breathe more than our tuwon shinkafa, miyan kuka and burabisco; when our children, mothers, fathers, brothers & sisters, were collected like items from bama, bukarti, ngariri, & konduga to dungeons unknown. we left our homes when lafiya-dole brought no peace. we left when home became a portrait of pain with images running off; fading out…  picture this: houses – each a pixel of ash. women packing what’s left of their children. stains of semen on dirtied dolls. men tattooed with bullets. we left our homes before subh, before the muezzin’s call to prayer seeking the first ray of sun in other land. Balarabe became tired on the way & gifted his body to the brown earth. call it cowardice / suicide, we call it glass splinters returning to mirror; a soul leaving duniyan for HOME. we left when home became a portrait of pain for another soil with the hope to frame new memories.

Glossary: 1. tuwon shinkafa, miyan kuka and burabisco – some Hausa delicacies. 2. Bama, Bukarti, Ngariri and Konduga – some of the villages affected by the Boko Haram bombings. 3. Lafiya-Dole – Hausa word meaning “peace by force” an operation to end terrorism and indigency in the North East. 4. Duniyan: Meaning Earth or world.

Sodiq Oyekanmi is a Nigerian poet and a student of the University of Ibadan, where he currently studies Theatre Arts. He enjoys writing poetry as he sees this as a creative outlet that enables him to reflect the world around him. He is hopeless romantic. His works explore grief, depression, finding oneself, love and heart-quakes. His work is forthcoming on Kalahari Review and have appeared on Black Youth, Echelon Review, CROWNDESERVER, Brittle Paper and African Writer Magazine. When he is not reading or writing, he is listening to Kendrick and Eminem’s songs. You can find him on Facebook @ Sodïq Oyèkànmí.

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