We ran that night when they arrived.
The ground wet with August’s breath.
We ran from Zuba Hall down
to the hillside, following the back
of Uncle Usmanu’s bald head.
The principal’s wife ran, her first son
strapped to her chest in a pouch
like a Mother Kangaroo.
Nne, the paralytic girl
ran with her hands—leaping
after us like a frog.
At the hillside: our breaths smelled
of relief. Soon, gunshots became
nearby neighbours. Some of us
who were already dead jumped
into the next river. Those who lived
ran and ran into the mouths
of the visitors’ guns.
(Previously published in Burntdistrict)
ETYMOLOGY OF HOPE
After Dante, after Robert Pinsky
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 a 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, her head dropped,
as a mark of respect. Goodbye, we would bid.
She, agape, how hope-filled were these hopeless kids
(Previously published in Drunken Boat)
About Writing for Peace Adviser D.M Aderibigbe
D.M. Aderibigbe is from Nigeria and came to the US for graduate studies in 2015 and earned his MFA in creative writing from Boston University as a BU Fellow and also received a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship. His chapbook is In Praise of Our Absent Father. He knows God loves you.
D.M. Aderibigbe is a Writing for Peace Adviser and was a Keynote Speaker at our 2016 Youth Summit. You can view his powerful address here:
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