Dare Tunmise

Dare Tunmise

is a Poet and Essayist and a Political Science Sophomore at the University of Ibadan. His works have been published or are forthcoming in the Sublunary Review, the Kalahari Review, the Nigerian Tribune, African Writer and elsewhere. He currently lives in Ibadan and could be found on twitter @dare_tunmise

Portrait of a Starless Night

For Fikayo

Not even the contemptuous cries of crows against a night that
comes out starless

In the place of a half-moon, a lone satellite
Is crashing out of space through the heavens way
I peeped outside the window, and again, the lone
bird began a song and I followed its dirge to the dark of
a cave filled with the bones of a dead child and I know this
hollowness of tissue is what your mother must have felt as she threw
the last of your clothes in fire for a memory that would not die in
flame.

In the quietness of a voiceless night, I remember tossing
you in the air outside your grandmother’s house in Alakia,
your set of first teeth glistening in chuckles brighter
even than all the stars in their milky way

I do not beg to remember you this way— the name of
grief that steals a child from the grip of its mother,
or the holiness of an infant skin craft in burial in the
pale inglorious garment of quicksand

When flowers die, they give their ashes to the clay,
I do not know if there’s a way for your body to sweep through this
valley and speak as God walking through dry bones
Or the innocent cry of a child beautiful than the grave
growing mound in your mother’s throat as she weeps your
name out of nightmares.

Burning Chrysanthemums

It is getting quiet here
Marrow drying out inside bones
I see a legion of larvae streaming out of
a cup of stew and I know nothing would reverse
this decomposition of stars we crafted out of
Sour languages

The child’s cry sounds similar to a dragon letting
Hell loose at water point. I do not know where we
landed this music that took off in the mouth of
Crows. Last night, the news talked of a boy
Swallowed in a machine while working in a soap factory.

We need new songs, I said to Moses
outside the house where we sat eating garden eggs
with groundnut paste. The flesh of this city tasted sour,
and each of the snake’s bite into dust is something to
remind us that a girl was raped to death in a
church yard,
That Tina, sweet 16 was shot dead in Lagos & what the
country did was offered flowers.

It is getting quiet here, the morning birds no longer sing.
and while the stars are out, a half
rainbow sit on the horizon, and something to remind us that
somewhere tonight,
a woman would wrapped her cold arms around her baby because her
husband has been jailed for blasphemy or that another
boy would not see the sun again
because he too would be hanged in Kano for calling the name of
God in soft letters.

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