Tuesday Poem by Nkiacha Atemnkeng
In Fear of Bad News
The school where you studied has been burnt.
Sweet memories with classmates remain.
Fire travels through the wire,
Home boils in the military pot.
Your school has been torched by separatists
Who watch your home town burn slow.
Voice notes ferry strange metaphors
Water na water
Bullets are not pellets of water
Gunshots like rattling electric poles
But gunshots don’t shock; they maim or kill.
You dread your Whatsapp gallery,
Morbid pictures trickling into your phone.
A litter of corpses you delete from your phone,
But not from memory.
Calls from home startle;
Your heart beats hard, in fear of bad news.
You redial your loved ones.
Your breath cease when they fail to answer.
You can’t go home,
Famished roads devour travellers.
People disappear like spirit children,
Only to resurface after paid ransoms,
If they are lucky.