Imaam said to me–if you die, the soil would forbid touching your body
& termites dare not dine on your flesh. Sounds like good news.
So I smiled / nodded in affirmation/ & said– Have you not known, O Imaam !
That termites mustn’t come near bodies of God’s men
Have you not known?!
He laughed/ not at me but my ignorance/ & proceeded —
/tell me of a land that houses criminals/ no land touches the stinking
body of a sinner/ & no termite eats the forbidden flesh of a man
beneath Allah’s angry canopy.
I stopped him & said– O Imaam !
my name is Tasleem / not of submission/
Not of willing oneself to anyone’s orders_/ but peace.
I told him my name is Tesleem_ May peace be with me
on the day I vacate this space, till the /promised hour of questioning/
& till forever
I’m launching this poem with indistinct cries of masses/how occupants of this land of two shinning rivers wake up each day singing songs of sorrow & how they retire to their self made temporary graves, listening to elegies/& how youths doubt their future being worthy of fighting for/
This story is about how we /the oppressed/ open gates for the oppressors, how we raise our hands up /hail them/ & call them baba.
This story is about the blood of innocents that gushed out of our governments houses & offices, it is how the heads of heirs of our land were eaten up till the last bone of their skulls.
This story is of a settlement/an heaven/ but now/ it’s itchy and hot/&/thereafter twisted into a comfortable zone /of discomfort/& /of pains/& /pangs/___ where all soothsayers saw aren’t beyond wars and mass killings____
This story is a flashback of how we were chased out of our homes/how we were drifted apart our loved ones/how we were forced out of our beds by the fearful & horrendous sounds of footsteps of men in uniform, the terrorizing sounds of their vehicles and armour tanks, the noisy gunshots & the sudden outburst of bombs.
This story is that of a woman with three bullets in her back/screaming at the lifeless body of her only surviving son/this story is about how sky changed from its default colour to red, to go out is suicidal & our homes either weren’t safe.
About the Writer
Fadairo Tesleem is an emerging poet that writes from Osun state, Nigeria. He’s a poetry coach,a teacher and a literary critic. His works are forthcoming in the issue 1 of “Fieryscribe Review Magazine”, “Pangolin Review” & “QT literary Magazine”
Apart from teaching his students how to weld between poetic lines, he loves listening to the arresting voices of (Adekunle Gold and Beautiful Nubia).