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how do you spell desolation?

where i live, war cries mingle
with the sound of scurrying feet as mothers clutch
their babies like oxygen tanks to their chest, moaning
and offering supplication to the gods of the land & the
God of the air. fathers hold a bottle
of gin in one hand, a machete in the other, still not sure which one
it is that gives them courage.
the soil watches in acquiescence. it drinks the black blood of
the people to quench its thirst
& feeds on their friable flesh. the city imitates the bush
in the bible that burnt & burnt
& wouldn’t stop burning. the priest settles in the sanctity
of his chancel, the only sanctuary he’s ever known,
reciting the Lord’s prayer & restarting each time the
sound of fired gunshots cut through his words. he wants to be
sure he makes heaven when he dies.

when next i wake up to the sound of people
alive & dying of laughter, when next i kiss my mother
& she smiles back at me, when next i croon under
the moonlight next to my brothers, listening to papa
boast of the men he conquered in battle, whilst sandflies & mosquitoes
take turns in kissing our skin. whenever we stop running, i’ll know
we’ve once again found home.

Boloere Seibidor is an undergraduate at the University of Port Harcourt. She has written a number of prose and poetry works, most of which are yet to be published. Her poetry has been featured on Spring Literary Magazine, and her other poems are upcoming on other online magazines. Boloere was born, brought up, and writes from the city of Port Harcourt, where she still resides. She is inspired by virtually all things; from music, to paintings, to people. When somber, she listens to Ed Sheeran and James Bay. At the grimmest hours of the night, she enjoys reading/writing suspenseful stories.

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