Planes and plains are parting paths.
Chief and Alhaji are on board.
Musa and the school’s brightest are birds
Gliding away from the land where
Grasses were green but are now dead.
Their brains are forever lost by home,
Their sweats water the grasses
And make them greener across the border
Where water is snow and without salt.
Emeka and Ahmed are without wings
Dragging across the plains, barefooted;
No trees to offer them shade
The trip is to a land where milk falls for rain
And honey flows for ocean.
The sun drinks their blood to keep cool
The sand receives their bodies
As manure for trees that won’t grow.
Bones and bones they become Bones between borders.
Hospitals at home receive oxygen from Chief
But Chief cannot breathe
For to be black is to have
Every one dollar that has gone missing;
A black Chief is nothing
But a custodian of mischief.
Chike is the school’s brightest
Hope for those at home
Who will soon have a Ukraine-trained doctor
In their hospitals that are cars without engine
Ukraine is burning and Chike is firewood
He got to the train first
But ‘No, Ukrainians first’
Ada carries Aisha’s hijab
A tribute to the ones lost to the sea
Madam promised to fly them to the US
And turn them into scholars
With brains the sparkles of the stars.
Their boat flies on their bloods and bones
Men with different sizes of chalks
Draw their blood behind the boards
Their first lesson on Biology
Alhaji now takes beer
Taboos are for the living Not those who take their life
Home is a death sentence
To those who stay home
Those who left home to feed home
Have themselves become food
Nobody leaves home
Until home becomes
Hurting and haunting.
Ugochukwu Anadị is a student of the University of Nigeria.