After the killing of cows and herdsman in Enugu
Prelude: [In the storm / the brief branches of lightning / stretch like the jagged edges / of a torn map / over a country / the storm thickens into night / the night fizzles into day / the day blossoms into tomorrow.]
Somewhere, sprawled on the turf, lovers are still finding
the right words for the fire that chills the leaves are still dancing
to the expired trills of arrowed birds— the world forever flowing
with the script of God.
Somewhere on the spine of the day, the soil is still innocent,
filled with the dumbness of dust
the cutlass lies on a stone / like a dead wish, sharpened but for the weeds.
The cattle march on, at the command / of the herdsman’s whip. Their tails
flicking off / the buzzing tales of flies
As they bow before the earth to feed from her green palms.
Pause: [Imagine it went on this way— the cattle nibbling their way
into a death lengthier than a gunshot
the horizon expanding with the golden light of survival.
And the sun didn’t have to return to water
to find a headless body / in its stead.]
Play: Cruelty seeps / into the pristine air / like smoke / from a fire
that can be heard by what it takes.
The ground is stunned by the weight of the fallen / its gasp / a cloud of dust.
A storm brews in the heavens; rain-horses galloping along the sky’s
gossamer road— the rumble of hooves / echoing as thunder.
The dead are still dead but the blood sings.
Tonight the forest will come alive / like a painting / woken from
the stillness of its canvas— the moon will shower
a confetti of birds upon the wild:
They will bear the severed head of the herdsman / up / and it too, shall sing
of the brutal swing / of the cutlass / of the final / painful / beauty
of the world / of the brief branches / of lightning
announcing the wreck / of a man. Tonight, instead of nightmares, the cows will moo
into the dreams of men.
Omodero David Oghenekaro is a writer from Delta State, Nigeria. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Lolwe, The Deadlands, Trampset, Poetry Sango-ota, Yaba Left Review and elsewhere. He’s a member of the Frontiers Collective. He’s currently pursuing a degree in Biomedical Technology at the University of Port Harcourt.