about the author

Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian writer and environmentalist. His poems are featured or forthcoming in Puerto del Sol, Vinyl, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere.

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One Poem  

Hussain Ahmed

Monologue on a Tea Farm

if I cook spaghetti better than I hold a gun,
I won’t be here.
dew swallowed the edges of the farm,
there are butterflies everywhere.
it was a right time to think of love poems
the butterflies flutter too close to my ears,
soon, there is no more butterfly
we lie on the mist ground and say our last prayers.
and to whom do we give the keys to our rooms,
if the men with microphones
in ventilated amphitheaters are cold
and their iced chest will take long to melt
who would tell our stories when we are gone?
I envied the men who had died in water
I should have return to the swimming pool
where my wife almost got drowned,
I should have taken her back the next weekend,
by now, she could have grown some gills
the scriptures of the army are not meant to kill us all at once
The scriptures remind us that Maiduguri is our father’s land
though my father knows nothing of how close I was to hell
how do the grave diggers get paid, if no one dies?
they don’t want all of us at the frontline, they need men to salute
when they pass by in their starched regalia
for how long do I fight for faceless gods,
when I can swallow the keys to our rooms
because my mouth is a country in need of music.

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