By Joemario Umana
Ask me of a point where neglect and hope meet,
And I will show you, at every corner of this dusty street,
Little gifts given to the wild, wearing harmattan skin,
Feet kissing the dust, dust gasping and clinging onto their feet,
As they go, gate by gate, bellies burning, voices in worship,
Hands stretching in prayer, curved into a bowl,
As the void reads, give us this day our daily bread.
And some days, god grows lizard ears.
Other days, god answers with crumbs from leftovers,
And you watch them, scramble like chickens over limited grains.
You watch them, lick life off their fingers passionately,
As if a missed spot means a shortened life.
And you can’t help but sigh at life,
As you reflect on the only crime they’re guilty of—
Joemario Umana is a Nigerian creative writer and a performance poet, whose most poems, surround the theme of masculinity. He is an alumnus of The Poetic Collective writing fellowship and the 2023 SprinNg Writing fellowship program. Also, a member of The Writers Manger Network (TWMN), a literary and literacy hub in Nigeria. His works have appeared and some forthcoming in journals like the anthology publication of NSPP 2022, Loch Raven Review, The Kalahari Review, Lunaris Review, Ngiga Review, Eboquills, Nantygreens, Poemify, Punocracy, Spillwords, Afrihill Press, Afrocritik and elsewhere. His works have drawn literary appreciation to themselves. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. He tweets @Jo_marioumana
Cover photo: Rene Bernal on Unsplash