(Igbo Genocide: 1945, 1953, 1966, 1967-1970,
1980, 1982-1983, 1984-1991)
at the call of the Azan, my uncle drops to his knees
& bows his head—drunk on the meaning of commitment.
i am writing this poem as my grandmother sleeps. her eyes,
two candles thawing in the sun. call us something inside
our name. my brother’s beard draws hatred. more times,
my tribe is a gnarled thing approximating butcher.
through any wild & all wild i find them—on the street
& shadow of the river Niger. & when i see them,
my compass is date palm, carrots & garlic. home
turns me into a body unbeckoned. things went wrong
in amalgamation & my grandfather became a murderer
this is how North & East play nationalism. this is how
North & East play coup. this is how North & East crave
revenge. this is how North & East purge themselves.
these events are interrelated. there is more violence in history
than i remember. my name hinges on a brown river overflown
with regrets—i practice silence & spilt milk when i say love.
no matter what was sacrificed all i want is forgiveness--
an olive in the high branches. & once again, according to
annual reports the highest SDG were achieved by
the factory of harmony. & i am seized upon by bliss—
to ache like the sky after a storm.