Poems for the Persecuted

1. 

after 

scouring 

the back 

of his tongue 

in search 

of some sort 

of peace offering 

i lose 

memory 

of the man 

violently 

kissing the cry 

from my throat 

for just a moment. 

I imagine 

the moans 

skydiving 

from blackened 

bedroom walls 

are the Kurdish 

carols of 

two dozen 

Yazidi girls. 

they are 

draped in 

gold, 

and 

yellow. 

they only 

retire 

choruses 

at dawn 

as to 

not 

compete 

with the sun. 

they are 

certainly not

victims stolen 

from the baked 

bread of mothers 

presence. 

certainly, 

not 

chained to beds 

of murderous men. 

No. 

they are 

1,000 lifetimes 

away, already. 

ransomed by 

Faithful. 

glorified 

by goodness 

and 

mercy 

and if ever 

I should be 

free 

I will 

take with me

their song 

remember & sing 

all the days

of my life.

 

2. 

 

wouldn't I give anything 

HALLELUJAH

my womb my skin 

to find Maiduguri on my fingers

how many breaths must I bargain to dream of exams, the market

HALLELUJAH

find my mother there 

Aleema wrapped her back

like boiled yam

I am and I am not 

276

247

219

bring back 

Chibok

hashtag.

while subsequent "global outrage"

tip toes across your lips 

like nervous children, 

I am not dead.

I am 

missing..

 

my father 

and brother

and sisters 

as my mother

prays her eyes

a red Kaduna sun. 

HALLELUJAH - Amen.

- for Muwa, Saratu, Ramati, Mariama, Ruth, Naomi, 

and the others. 

#bringbackourgirls 

 

3.

"A little while" [Imagining Jesus]

 

I sit a thousand

years go down 

in the evening,

after mourners throat 

has carried in a day 

world regrets to know.

I clothe crying children 

in brilliance of white spun 

from loss & grace gained.

when darkness is opaque 

it is because I have come 

to be seen by them alone. 

say not that God forsakes 

the suffering if murder tucks 

them into sleep mothers mourn,

 

know, I gave each my body 

before accepting their own. 

They shall be renewed 

new 

new. 

When the number

is complete. 

and will rise 

to reign with me 

in a little while

 

#WePersevere inspired by the work of K.A. Ellis.

Itohan Osaigbovo