Separated by a wall of forty-nine years,
I had no true feel of the war.
No memory of what could have been disassembled into tiny visions,
of planes flying & grazing the country’s landscape with fire,
sealing the final breaths of villagers with bombs,
of roads bruised from monster trucks & troops in transit,
of young boys gifted with the wildness of youth,
& the sheer terror of watching all those destinies swallow
fear in amounts they could not regurgitate even in peacetime.
Whatever building standing now is the outgrowth of dead children.
Whatever city growing now is cursed by the screams of
women plundered as spoils, as privileges the soldiers could
access while the war burned down houses.
As a child in a nation that survived the gentle murder of another,
as a soft spirit drawn to the memorials for heroes,
for men whose courage attracted the world,
& they, too, drew closer to gather the remains of the war.
To study each rebel, to attempt understanding why tribes went to war
over lands, over the transferable glory of authority.
I sing of a deeper darkness, the one that waits in the deep of our bones,
the sudden jolt of pain, the ghost of our conscience.
Michael Akuchie is a Nigerian poet who is currently pursuing a degree in English and Literature at the University of Benin, Nigeria. His poems have appeared in Sandy River Review, Headway Lit, Rabid Oak, The Hellebore, Peculiars Magazine and elsewhere. He is a Contributing Editor at Barren Magazine. His micro-chapbook, Calling out Grief is forthcoming with Ghost City Press (July 2019).
He is on Twitter as @Michael_Akuchie.