(For Nigeria @ Sixty)

The republic is
a graveyard.

There are beautiful headstones.

There are ugly ones too.

There are unmarked graves everywhere
hiding the bones
of legions
and legions
whose names are lost in
a whirlwind.

There are broken
graves; they give
their stench
to the air.

There are bouquets
of flowers littered
by some who care.

There are flowers
planted by the bereaved
to give
beauty to the resting places
of their dead.

There are wild flowers
growing
from pollens couriered
by birds and beasts.

There are wreaths;
there are wraiths.

There are gravediggers
working each day
towards their own
last breath.

There are those
who profit
from the enterprise
of death.

There are mourners broken
by grief.

There are mourners who
sing of celestial
afterlife because
they are moved
to invest their hopes in
the unknown.

There are those
who deny
the mounting facts of loss.

There are optimists
who know that
tragedies
are too many
and too often;
but they still
dare to be upbeat
at sunrise.

There are those who
know that every sunrise
calls us to rise
and every nightfall
calls us to stand.

Obari Gomba is an Honorary Fellow in Writing of the University of Iowa (USA), teaches Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Port Harcourt.