After the Olambe petrol truck explosion
I run as hungry flames chase us
from our homes. As fire breezes
through a path lined with oil
& years of labor fall into ashes.
I imagine the President’s shady
promises about compensation.
I think of trucks plying broken
roads. Afar, gloomy smoke
levitates towards heaven.
I spot some kids —laughing,
playing ten-ten, unaware
of the wails nearby. The fire
roars in anger. I hate its wails
of loss. I close my eyes but
my nose, a Judas, breathes in
smoke. What can poets do but
weave grief into sad analogies?
A dog barks away as if to express
fury. I know fire extinguishers
show up when it’s too late. I recall
the Ikeja bomb blast & Dana Air
crash. I count tasbih of tragedies
until my fingers falter. I wonder
what legacy this land will leave.
What next will it take from us?
Nothing works here until there is
some damage. Like a bargain of
survival, without a written treaty
that Nigeria won’t still burn you.
Rahma O. Jimoh is a winner of the Poetry Translation, Lagos-London competition. She is a participant in the Undertow Writing workshop and has been published or has works forthcoming in Salt Hill Journal, Parentheses Art, Ake Review, Olongo Africa, Lucent Dreaming, Agbowo, Tab Journal & others. She is a lover of sunsets and monuments. She edits poetry at Olumo Review and is a prose reader at Chestnut Review.