Soon, the sun slipped into a grey quilt
above and the street began to vaporize:
skidding cars, passers-by, even the silt
beneath our bums fell asleep. We’d rise
and talk and talk and walk from road to road.
The night folding itself into our eyes.
We'd talk and walk. A church loomed: my friend, bold
like a child around their parent, led me
in. On the floor, we fed our dreams to cold
sweeping across the church. It was sunny
when we opened our eyes to a woman
in a white robe. Dangling in her left hand, key
to the car she drove us with to a can-
teen, where wraps of Eba and Ewedu soup,
seeds of joy dropping in our stomach. A can
of Coca-Cola in my left hand, I stooped
in respect with my right. My friend did
the same. The woman smiled, then she drooped,
as a mark of respect. Goodbye, we would bid.
She, agape, how hope-filled were these hopeless kids.
He is the first to step out of the classroom
during break, and the last to step
back and take a seat in this silence
when the break is over.
His eyelids pumped with suspense.
I walk between gazes across the classroom,
while the social studies teacher
speaks to the blackboard.
I beg him to open up the door
to his worries, and the suspense
in his eyes turns to water. Words
will follow: a je iya kidigan
lakoko yi, He begins, then stops.
For hours, tears
are the only language
Mo fe gbo nkan to nii so. I beg again. Again, he
begins. It began
with the country's voice crushing
his father's only achievement—
the achievement they had lived
in since he was born. Now without
a bed, without walls, without a roof,
the bridge's foot was their new ceilings
and the bridge's pillars their new pillows,
for years. For years
until the day his mother slept
and couldn't return from the night.
They cried: He, his father
and siblings. The sounds
of their sorrow reached
the country's ears. The country
came to our rescue, but it was
too late, oree mi. He says.
It's an event that has become
a rock in his memory,
and here is its 5th anniversary.