I don’t know how to start this poem, I fear this poem may lead to other poems. I wish to write, but my hands are still learning the subtle rustle of grief, and my phalanges are gripped in the clutches of agony, here grief is an evergreen plant that maintains its greenness till the foliage grows. My Cousin brought an assignment to me, it reads;

  1. list examples of abstract nouns? I took the pen and scribbled my brother, my brother & brother till the white lines became faded like my father’s grey hairs that were sparse forest in his youthful days.
  2. What do you want to be in the future? I answered, A gardener -a Lilly gardener. Lilly is the flower we sprout on graves because here we worship the land, we offer sacrifices every day with our heads and seek company in metaphors, that brick our hopes. Even our songs, we sing them as dirges. She shook her head and returned with her book.

What she doesn’t know, is that grief is like the water hyacinth— stubborn and resistant. It grows and fills our arms with dark-broken images. We were taught how to carry the stars in our darkest palms. But what does she know? She is just a ten-year-old with wishes that color the sky. I don’t know how to tell her, that here —
one dies before wishes live— that wishes are like lullabies in the mouth of the widowed. Wishes and wants are like memories lost in the ruins of time.

But as I looked at her, I saw smiles the size of hope floating in her steps. Maybe this chapter of life will one day be forgotten between the nape of a thunderstorm. One day, I will be able to sit and begin a poem rightly. Luda wa ka goro pia ( if you must understand this, I leave you in the wonders of my ancestors)

About the Author

Adamu Yahuza Abdullahi is a budding poet from Kwara state, Nigeria. He is currently running his degree program at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria. He works as a campus journalist at PEN PRESS, UDUS. He is a year three hundred level student of botany. He is obsessed with writers and what they write. When he underthinks, he reads; and when he overthinks, he writes. He is so much passionate about his ancestral hometown, Kemanji, where he writes. He bagged NAKS ( a student Union body) award for the best poet of the year, 2021. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in the Kalahari Review, Synchronized Chaos and Borgu Book Club. He can be reached at adamuyahutha@gmail.com. and he tweets at AdamuYahuzaabd2. 

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