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When Would Our Sky Be Blue
Bola Opaleke


In Atareb. Our wound would not heal itself tonight
nor our tears stay awake on gravel.
Years before now, Aleppo said to teach us
how to run to the ocean in the form of endless rubbles

but we preferred to stay here where black dust hands
us swimming lessons. We swim in unexpired
explosives & our dead never make National news,
because here there is no more news.
They say Justice sleeps in our backyard
but we know we’re surrounded by graveyard
& how difficult to say adieu? To say
inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon to hope?

We wake every morning to the dirge
from a foreign land waiting to mourn
what already was mourned here. Our bodies
marking time, dancing to the sound of YallaYalla
in our ears in a language we no longer understand,

like the beautiful lotus-bud arguing with the wild dandelion
the night stays with us, we stay with it too
not knowing what new name to give to our children
who are beginning to ask: “what is in a name anyway?”
“what is Home to us, here?”. Then we pray to disappear  
on them the way our fathers disappeared on us
though, we know there is no use trying.
We know no prayer is ever answered here.

Today, our kinsmen that went to the market never returned.
Someone says a prayer never go unanswered, 
but has anyone ever preyed on yours like they did on ours? 
Have you ever tried becoming your own prayer? 
Have you ever endured the cold fingers of death like
harsh Winter eating your ears, then your toes
one at a time? Torturing your mind saying:
“I’m at your door, I’m here” laughs & waits
until our body unfurls itself into itself.

Bola Opaleke is a Pushcart Prize nominee. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in a few Journals like Rising Phoenix Review, Writers Resist, Rattle, Cleaver, One, The Nottingham Review, The Puritan, The Literary Review of Canada, Sierra Nevada Review, Dissident Voice, Poetry Quarterly, The Indianapolis Review, Miracle E-Zine, Poetry Pacific, Drunk Monkeys, League of Canadian Poets (Poetry Month 2013), St. Peters College(University of Saskatchewan) Anthology (Society 2013 Vol. 10), Pastiche Magazine, and others. He holds a degree in City Planning.