What I Spilled After the Block, Or How on Earth do I Begin Again to Love? — for 20th October 2020 casualties. This is the first poem I have written in weeks. I’m trying not to look too closely at every word. There are blood clots in my head. Blood clots in the phone screen flat on my palms. Living the Nigerian dream was all we asked for. None of us saw this coming — the trigger-happy military men, the bodies blown open like jars of glass and their #EndSARS placards now tanned sheets in the mud. After today, how do I begin to love this country once again? What is the benefit of the doubt when all I remember is the sound of guns. Each time we leave we are shot on the way. Tell me: which country swallows up her citizens for protesting, for talking loud enough? Three weeks of writer’s block and this is all I have — blood clots for a poem, placards, a soldier’s cold thumb, all the bodies hollowed out by something heavy and Nigerian. Now I know that there is no muse more briefly-worded than grief. History Book if it were my will, let this cup of sorrow be lifted from my body — and tossed into fire. even christ dreads the aftermath of pandemics & everything misshapen by heat. I shove this black skin into a history book, grief outpouring from every page. each time we leave and return scanty, i bruise my feet as a monument to all that we outran on the way and for every name we shoveled into the soil. i’m heartbroken and scared. sometimes i don’t know how I’ll start over when this is all over, and these bodies come asking to be carried into the beginning when there was no sorrow & fire was only an illusion.
About the Author:
Chiwenite Onyekwelu is a 20-year-old Nigerian writer. He was a runner up for the 2020 Foley Poetry Contest, a finalist for the Stephen A. Dibiase Poetry Contest 2020, winner of the Christopher Okigbo Poetry Prize 2019, as well as the 2nd prize winner of the Newman Writing Contest 2017. His writings explore the themes of identity, religion, animal injustice, the environment, home, pedophilia and other ways a child is maimed. His works have appeared or are forthcoming from America Magazine, Brittle Paper, Sub-Saharan Magazine, the Kreative Diadem issue: Isolation and elsewhere. Chiwenite edits poetry for the Sub-Saharan Magazine, and attempts to play the guitar once in a while.