the poem in which every line is an answer to Soonest Nathaniel’s “why?” | Adamu Yahuza Abdullahi

After Soonest Nathaniel

-because the night sky is purpled with the blood of my brothers,
-because I do not love my brothers.
-because it is placed there with the absence of my brothers.
-because they sit in the hollowness of what they hear and each smells like jasmine and rose.
-because the village sleeps under a cloud of ash.
-because the village is a shore that plays hide and seek with the sea.
-because River Niger is thirsty.
-because the rain that falls here comes with mouths.
-because all my lovers died the day after i killed our neighbor’s cat.
-because the community avenged their death and the war goes on and on.
-because the village is now full of ghosts.
-because the village is a mirror.
-because everything looks larger than they appear.
-because a six-legged horse walks through my window every night.
-because i do not have the word for the sound it makes.
-because the boy that heard the sound ran mad.
-because his mother cried all the tears she had.
-because the difference between tears and water is pain.
-because the difference between tears and water is innocence.
-because the old woman at the next junction wings with the night.
-because no one said they saw her with wings when the elders asked.
-because here everything demands a witness.
-because fear is the safest way to preserve the air in your lungs.
-because the journey of survival starts from your mouth.
-because home is a minefield.
-because we are memories separated from history.
-because our emptiness whispers I am full.
-because we are waiting for the morning to understand our pain.
-because our kind of pain does not have doors.
-because this poem can not be longer than this.
-because silence is this house a boy like me lives, through music and noise.


Adamu Yahuza Abdullahi, THE PLOB, TPC V, is a budding poet and essayist from Kwara state, Nigeria. He is a Best Of The Net Nominee and a second-place winner of the first edition of the Hassan Sulaiman Gimba Esq Poetry Prize and Bill Ward Prize for Emerging Writers 2023. His works are published or forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Lolwe, A Long House, Full House Literary, TheMuseUNN and other places.

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