The Niger Sings of Blood

I was born in 1966, at the beginning of the Biafran-Nigerian Civil War, and the war ended after three years. And I was growing up in school, and the federal government didn’t want us taught about the history of the war, because they thought it probably would make us generate a new generation of rebels.

—Chris Abani

I can’t hold a face
held before dawn
& not see behind the eyes
bullets still rattling,
these sounds a war cry
not from a soldier
but from a small child,
his hand cupping the sun
as his voice rises & breaks
the bush into a burning altar.

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