What to Say to the Boy that Asks for the Remnants of Rain

here, we build houses with decayed, 
unburied bodies that forgot the other
new ways to breathe in the land 
where flowers, too, are names given 
to the family of bullets that haunt
the bodies that refuse to fall. 
see, maybe, when the sun's 
eyes become weary and darkness
wears the crown, a masked face 
might ask if the graveyard 
is full, so he would unearth those
that got their halves blessed to be 
buried in a grave as a way to shelter
the remnants of his fallen body; an 
escape from being wholly flooded 
by the flooding water that holds
the melanin of blood. you see, here, 
when children grow beards, they 
metamorphose into night heroes, 
visiting home after home, burying
the mouths of their brothers with
notes only to have the ballots 
thumbed on their strange rooms. 
today, let me tell you what to say
to the boy that always asks for the
remnants of rain, tell him here is a 
land turned to a Kalahari—a new 
desert formed by our unploughed
prayers and burning wishes. if you
like, snuff the monster out of your
mouth and tell him about the 
remnants of the rain who could
only be seen when we grind the
satanic dots between what our
mouths utter. tell him it could only
wet our withered bodies when we 
bury the things hovering the arena
in our craniums; things that are 
synonymous to building sandhouses
together after the rain. such things
beyond things like he gave us poetry
when our eyes were searching for
rain, or he taught us how to pray
under the roofs where angels that 
carry in their mouth hymns sung 
from the heaven, stay. tell him you 
mean such things beyond what our 
hearts could feel. and the remnants 
of the orphaned rain, is lying here 
between our ribs, sieving the dust 
trying to blur the eyes of what this 
night would born. 

by Salim Yakubu Akko

Salim Yakubu Akko is a Nigerian writer, poet and essayist from Gombe state. He has been published on Applied Worldwide, Brittle Paper, The Pine Cone Review, World Voices Magazine and elsewhere. He has been shortlisted for the 2021 Bill Ward Prize for Emerging Writers. Akko is a member of Gombe Jewel Writers Association, Creative Club Gombe State University and Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation.

photo by Steve Johnson