in response to the #EndSARS protests

on the calendar in the living room, thick slashes of black scratch the days 
following October 20th, 2020; Adesuwa’s way of registering the absence

of her elder brother. her mother’s head is invariably wrapped 
with a black scarf—self-identifying with grief.

& every time she unintentionally utters her brother’s name 
[because a child’s name is woven into a mother’s tongue]

her body breaks, a glass house shattered by sound waves.
whenever Adesuwa questions the period of her brother’s arrival,

her mother says your brother is coming. but she knows in her thumping heart,
like a hen knows her chicks, that the country swallowed him.

Praise Osawaru (he/him) is a writer and poet of Bini descent. A Best of the Net nominee, his works appear in Glass Poetry, Ice Floe Press, Kalahari Review, Kissing Dynamite, and elsewhere. He’s a 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize Finalist, Babishai 2020 Haiku Award and 2020 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize shortlistee, and a recipient of the NF2W Poetry Scholarship. He’s a prose reader for Chestnut Review and he’s on Twitter @wordsmithpraise.

Twitter: @wordsmithpraise
Instagram: @wordsmithpraise
Facebook: Praise Osawaru