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Nket Godwin | Bus Stop Religion

On Nassarawa road, a poem leaped out of the vehicle

We could have traveled out of ourselves,
birding through you, stretched infinitude,
like the mystery of Allah, in our curious wings.
A poem leaped out of the vehicle
into expanse of green glory sprawled
in the heat of Allah’s breath you flagged;
took a shade, like herders herding cows,
or cows herding herders, under trees mushroomed by distance;
strolled in your rock-flowered garden,
hedging silver-mugged tar;
climbed, fell, climbed, fell from the hills
growing in its beginner-wonderings
like a gay moth dabbing its wings in the sun.
It could’ve gone on running in your Sahel marvel,
bathing the wonder of your Saharan grace,
unafraid of Boko teeth gnawing the night.
But a poem leaping out of the vehicle on Nassarawa road
is the vigilance of a kite swooping a chick.


Bus stop religion
(A Corper’s travail before leaving for the North)

“You are bound for north,” says the preacher,
a starved Bible in hand, creased with years of toil,
“for the worship of what the country
could have been, should have been, by itself,
in the name of our god, nationalism—but slain in the war.
I heard the nut in your voice crack,
the knot in your heart loosen,
dismembering amens of safe-return.
The nation droops shoulder of prayer,
heavier than the plank Christ carried for a cross.
Ask abduction—made wayward in the news—
how many rainy seasons of prayers
poured into its river, but never desalted.
Still we must feed the worms to coax hunger
You can feed the Lord, through my mouth,
With whatever your heart wishes,” he ended.
I wanted to ask—before the bus closed like a casket—
You mean the lord, Lugard?—But he was gone.


Poems © Nket Godwin
Image: Muhammad-taha Ibrahim Unsplash cropped

Nket Godwin
Nket Godwin
Nket Godwin, poet, essayist and book reviewer. His works have been published in Con-Scio magazine, Afreecan Read, Eboquill, Inkspired, etc. He writes from the city of Port Harcourt. He can be reached via @nketgodwin, Facebook | @nketgodwin, X (Twitter)

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