BrOkEn GhAzAl fOr AfRiKa by Bola Opaleke

BrOkEn GhAzAl fOr AfRiKa
by Bola Opaleke


in Afrika there is a way you beg forgiveness
for future sins
today in a broken language
the same way you beg blessings and blessings
for memories to be left behind
for gods soon to be forced to answer and answer
prayers yet to be said
in Afrika you beg forgiveness and forgiveness
for only future sins

when pushed to burn newspapers and holy books
growing up that way without worries and worries
growing like weed in the yard
without our mother’s hands to redirect the wind and wind
blowing our father’s words towards forgiveness
of things too heavy for our desert sand to hold and hold
us tight to the smuggling luggage across the border
from Afrika to some wolf nations and wolf nations
that would not howl but instead make us howl

in Afrika there is a way you sing songs
that would never be written or sung
before sunset songs to be drawn across the sky and sky
asking us to always remember the evenings
in the days of our youth not telling us about nights and nights
that would be our lifetime companion
in Afrika there is a way you sing songs and songs
of prayer that would never be answered
but pray the prayer we must

in Afrika we looked up to people wearing the veil
kneel and wash their feet with our sour tears
as they mumbled may you be blessed and may you be blessed
was all we need to bounce off the wall
to our cleaning jobs and jobs
cleaning children arriving after us and us
teaching them the art of falling
in Afrika because yes that’s what we do and do
anyone in the world cares?

Bola Opaleke is a Nigerian-Canadian poet residing in Winnipeg, MB. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a few poetry magazines including The Nottingham Review, The Puritan, The Literary Review of Canada, Sierra Nevada Review, Poetry Quarterly, Miracle E-zine, Poetry Pacific, Drunk Monkeys, Pastiche Magazine, UK Poetry Library, and others.




Image credit: Julien Harneis on Flickr


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