Ghosts

By | 1 April 2019

egusi soup trails
pepper soup stories
pounded yam, ingra fish
theories. parents chatter nigeria
in the background. your
favourite was the mango
salted avocado
fleshy yellow, green.
roasted peanuts
cracked from shells
charcoaled suya sticks
laden with chilli
akara balls and
sugary sweet puff-puff.
you wonder if you spoke
two languages
pidgin-english flowing
fluently from your lips
just as easily as the ‘real’ thing
did.
tongue sprinkled
with flavours of
lost language.
one day the driver couldn’t
get you to school
roads blocked
as fighting broke
out. a man runs past
gunshot wound.
you drew a picture of it in
class. compound kids
spitting on your
head as they saw you
and your sister
over the walls
in the oyibo
school. chasing
baby chickens in
the yard of the
compound that is how
you got that scar
on your heel cutting
your foot on the
corrugated iron. fireflies
decorating night walks
to visit uncles and friends
drinking beer.
‘here try this one,
it’s malt-flavoured.’ some
kids caught jars of
the insects. long days
of wandering
coming home
when dusk dawned
would life have been better,
if you stayed here?
knew what it felt like
to grow up with your people?

she was five,
but already knew what love
was not.

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