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Stench of Loss: Poetry by Emitomo Tobi Nimisire


there is a smell to a body
that has been home for war
stench of loss —
faith shot dead on its way
back to a soul
purged of it

fragrance of hope — your lover gifts you flowers
the morning after the night he laid you bare
and forced rhythms on your loin
pouring into your space
residue of anger sifted onto your face
from the sieve of his blows

capture a land riddled with strife
develop the film with chemicals that can
save memories but can’t make the dead look alive
(their bodies were unworthy of embalmment
or burial or eulogy or grave anyway)
— hang it like a family photograph on
a government’s property or bury it on a farm
that has been fed too many bodies
it is a landmark of putrefaction

title your odes with names of men and children
and women in Plateau we swallow hard–
like they did our food gum money
their pride tantrums tear
names now stuck on our throats like goiter
sing them elegies of words
you will never get to say to them again —
I’m sorry I still love you I’m fucking proud of you
I’m glad you’re here

our prayer beads are teeth plucked
from mouths of children whose names
their mothers no more can yell —
Chinedu! Àdúnní! Nadia! Samuel!
ablution reminds us of tears
their grandfathers could not cry
when men dropped the news
like a jar of cankerworms

your heart is flooded with leaking
dreams and hopes and desires
and loves and joys and memories
that have been daggered, pierced
and crucified —
martyred for the religion of self.

Poetry (c) Emitomo Tobi Nimisire
Image: Pixabay.com remixed

Emitomo Tobi Nimisire
Emitomo Tobi Nimisirehttp://Nimisire.wordpress.com
Emitomo Tobi Nimisire is a writer who finds cadavers amusing. She lives in Ibadan, Nigeria.


  1. My God! Nimisire, this piece is a legendary smash. I am so happy I jumped into it. I read silently at first, then out and pooof! it shot me into a whole new level of beautiful sadness. I could swim and drown in the rhythm forever.
    “…I’m fucking proud of you
    I’m glad you’re here…”
    Sincerely, my respect!

  2. Maybe I’m not so vast , but this is one of the best pieces I read yet.. such an imaginative & dark ( dark is the new cool) mind…sick expressions!

  3. wow. My jaw dropped to the ground.
    The arrangement, the way each paragraph tells a different story but also is a continuation of the last, Amazing.
    I am mad inspired!! Wow.

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