Freedom should mean a Black man can sojourn anywhere
in the world without the fear of borders, which is the closest
we’ve been to God’s paradise.

Freedom shouldn’t be taking a walk away from the body.
Is it right, what I call the kneeling on a brother’s neck
to make him see his ancestors?

Freedom should be an African walking the streets without his heart losing grip of air.
Some time ago, in a foreign land, a man was killed
because of his colour, or perhaps his tongue’s rigidity.

Do you say your Lord enjoyed watching him die?
For me, destiny is a kind of lie religious people tell.
If He is what you say He is,
then, He should own a gallery showing photographs
of Black people hung, the ones whose blood purified the streets they shouldn’t have roamed,
the ones who believed slavery ended with the parting of the sea
while we, the descendants
of shipped heroes, walked through.

I do not believe in destiny.
I do not believe God, in a scroll,
has written that we, a people,
would die in the hands of our brothers, tenderly.

About the Author

Blessing Omeiza Ojo is a Nigerian poet and teacher. His works have been published or forthcoming in Split Lip Magazine, Roughcut Press, Lunaris Review, Last Girls Club, Artmosterrific, Trampoline and elsewhere. His poem, “Everything Around Us Sings” was selected for publication at the Castello di Duino 2021 International Poetry and Theatre Competition. In 2020, Omeiza was named the Arts Lounge’s Literature Teacher of the Year. He was a shortlist of Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize 2020, semi-finalist for Jack Grapes Poetry Prize 2020, and the winner, 9th Korea-Nigeria Poetry Prize (Ambassador Special Prize). He is currently a creative writing instructor at Jewel Model Secondary School, Abuja, where he has coached winners of national and international writing prizes. 

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