Burnt Home Ghazal – Rahma O. Jimoh

The ravens left feather prints in the cloud,
    as tourists winged like migrant birds.
We hid & watched from mountain tops
as our men were hunted like pheasant birds. 

Years before the crisis, the city flowed 
       with rivers of milk & honey. 
Tranquil voices echoed daily in the streets 
  as our mothers sang like weaver birds.  

Before the central Mosque tasted the wrath
        of an inferno by unknown gunmen.
The fire turned us hungry for blood,
  We borrowed the feathers of mockingbirds. 

Grandmother's ghost sat me on the table
       to tell me to live for today.
How do I dwell in the present when our past 
 lurks quietly like a whispering bird?

The world burned & burned, by the flame 
          in our unforgiven memories. 
But won't the world continue to burn until
       we learn from the hummingbirds  

& start to take a thousand steps backwards
    to undo the past, how is it not late
to wake our dead, to find our missing ones, 
         & heal the wounded birds?

 My heart mourns this home of fire & ice 
    & pieces of peace smoking into the sky.  
I wonder what is so sweet in burning &
    warring, in silencing wattlebirds?

Rahma O. Jimoh

Rahma O. Jimoh is a winner of the Poetry Translation, Lagos-London competition. She is a lover of sunsets and monuments and has been published or has works forthcoming in Salt Hill Journal, Parentheses Art, Ake Review, Olongo Africa, Lucent Dreaming, Agbowo, Tab Journal & others. She is an editor at Olumo Review and a prose reader at Chestnut Review. Twitter: dynamicrahma

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