IF I DON'T DIE
News reaches us of men burning
at home. The police disperse
the crowd with tear gas and bullets.
We have all seen the footage. I can
still smell the fear, that Saturday afternoon
when the air crackled as the rifles chorused.
My father told me that during the war
the children were told to dive into the
gutters if the ground tremored or planes
roared overhead. I imagine my father
in a ditch somewhere, his skinny arms
flat in front of him, his nose in the dust,
as I hold my own breath under the bed,
in the dimming light of the guestroom.
Father Lord, If I don’t die
I promise to tell daddy about the TV stand I broke.
ABOUT THE POET
Omotunde Oredipe was born and raised in Lagos and studied at South Carolina State University, where he served as the Poet Laureate (2016–2017) and founded the Poetry & Ideas Organization. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, The Southampton Review, and The Carolina Quarterly.
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