a witness’ burden

Photograph by Ayo Akinyemi, from the series Eripa.

& because i have no courage to speak about this

i’ll fold myself into paper planes        i’ll let this melancholic memory propel into my sister                       to the very first day her body was sliced into smaller chops for juice  the very first day her blood glowed like lemon in a cocktail drink & it wasn’t the one for cakes

that night when the lights were off & her voice thundered fire & momma wasn’t at home but us                i saw myself a saviour running with water to go save the day       instead             the fire was my momma’s boyfriend              a snake crawling & hissing into my sister                   that night         i think we all set the house on fire just to forget but my sister still fights in her dreams

Akpa Arinzechukwu

Akpa Arinzechukwu's work has been published by or featured in the 2017 Best New African Poets anthology, Sou'wester, Transition, New Contrast, The Rising Phoenix, and elsewhere. He was longlisted for the Koffi Addo Prize for Creative Nonfiction. He is the author of the poetry chapbook, City Dwellers (Splash of Red).

Saraba is a literary magazine focused on the work of new writers in Nigeria and other parts of the African continent. Since 2009, we have published several issues of a magazine, editions of poetry chapbooks, and online-only work.
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