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As Silent as the Graveyard: Poems by Sokuma Theophilus


This is how I become a ghost
And become water flowing on the ground
under a hot sun
I eat my tongue and swallow my voice
They say, never reply when an elder talks to you
This is how the culture of silence starts
I have empty holes etched into my skin from my silence
How can your body hold rain when it’s a basket?
I take a walk in the rain hoping to catch a glimpse of my voice in the droplets of rain
Father says to keep quiet while eating
If not we’d choke on our food
He doesn’t know that silence chokes silently
At night I run into my skin
Mother tells me to not cover my face
with the blanket
Only dead bodies are covered that way
She doesn’t know that my body is a graveyard
Or what do you call a silent place?


People ask me
How’s home?
Home is where the heart is I say

I buried my heart
In the soil on my father’s land
I hear that land has turned into a mass grave
My heart must be decaying amidst the other bodies

I placed my heart
In the palm of my uncle’s hands
Mother could not go for his burial
and I hear his hands were cut off

I hanged my heart
On the tree I played on as a child
An anchor to pull me back to my roots
I hear the village was set on fire

I tied my heart
in the hair of a young girl
I hear the girl was dragged by
the hair into the forest

I placed my heart
in the eyes of a young crying boy
I hear his head got too big
for his thin body to carry

I prayed my heart
in the walls of the church I celebrate Christmas in
I hear the building was brought
to the ground by bombs

Don’t ask me how home is?
Ask how my heart is
And I can point you to the news.
There you’ll see it burning.
Poetry: © Sokuma Theophilus
Image: Pixabay.com

Sokuma Theophilus
Sokuma Theophilus
Sokuma Theophilus is a Nigerian currently in his finals at college. He's a psychology major at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He loves the smell of books and ink and currently resides in Lagos, Nigeria. Find him on instagram @amante_del_dios


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