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Eric Atie: Night Song


This is how to kill a nightmare:
Open your eyes



There is a story a man told me
About how he watched life and death
Bargain for his soul

How they sat on his veranda,
And narrated how their day went,
And made Yo Momma jokes,
And laughed too loudly,
And found support on each other’s bodies.

He stared at them
From his sickbed, out the window
And into the open space.
And when it was time,
He felt cheated
There was no fight
For his soul

He watched them,
Two friends sitting under a tree
In the cool of the evening breeze,
Till the sun fell down,
Till they shook hands and departed



On some days
I do not own this body,
It bends and breaks at will
And leaves me a stranger

I say a prayer for you
25 hours in a day
8 days in a week
I kneel here
under our favourite tree
And just as the sun burns gold
I forge your name
Out of my belly’s heat
Let it burn like hot coal
On my lips.
I feel the scalding of every letter
Feel the hurt of each syllable as they roll and tumble on my tongue
And when I have emptied my guts of its fire
When my throat bleeds and burns and quakes my words to dust
I hope that this time
You call back

Poems © Eric Atie
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay (modified)

Eric Atie
Eric Atie
Eric Atie is a graduate of the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is a creative photographer and a short story writer who is passionate about African Literature. He is currently working on his debut short story collection.

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