Friday, 31 July 2015

For Tina - Inua Ellams

The day I discovered how she survived the civil war,
how she saw her friends pass like minutes into oblivion,
how she screamed through drop zones and Morse codes
into jungle, dodging bullets, hiding and crying into rain,

the day I discovered my grandfather heard her wailing,
felt something enough to move him after her, in darkness,
through rain, how her eyes, found in the flickering bounce
of hurricane lamps, showed a place so pure, he sailed her

away to the embrace of Paris, the kiss of Rome, the world
with its wide welcoming dome. The day I discovered this,
why she’d call him hero, she died. Peacefully, ninety years old.
He followed her an hour after, again into darkness.

All these years, he never let go. That day, I realised we live
in different worlds; friends pass too fast for minutes, wars
come after X Factor, turtledove romances exist in the past.

But I will send one sentence to you. One text message
screaming through wifi zones, digital codes, dodging
ones and zeros, like bullets and anti-heroes, promising

if evr ur lst n ths urbn jngle,
i’ll find n bring u in frm rain.

Inua Ellams (born 1984) Nigeria

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