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Six-T years we are still holding this riven prism,

this opaque prism whose sex stretches

from a bearded minaret in Maiduguri

to a cassocked swastika in Yenagoa.

This prism that reflected beams of blood

we couldn’t swallow, beams that are still

gagging us with hatred of light.

Because light first came as a powdery fire

melting up the shackles fetched under River Thames

into a plateau of tuffaceous corpses in Jos.

79 months after the prism has learned

how to tie a wrapper of oneness round

its waist scarred by bleeding tribal marks,

a fire of incest rose and melted a rusty

division sign into her derriere, dividing

it into two unequal shards:

the first reflecting yellow beams of a butchered

sun whose center is a portrait of lost;

the rest, they say, is a history that we still carry

on the cicatrix of our broken voice.

The same cicatrix that makes an almajiri

in Babaldu miss the differential sign hanging

just between prism and prison.

Abdulbaki A Ahmad is a poet, essayist and short story writer currently rounding up his Electrical Engineering B.Eng program at Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil. He was the 2019 first prize winner of the National Engineering Science and Tech Essay Competition (NESTEC) and a 2020 shortlist for Libretto Chapbook Series/Prizes. He has been featured in various international and local anthologies. He currently writes from Jigawa.

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