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Here We Romance Death With Open Hands — by Samuel Junior Irusota

Nov 11, 2020

Young poet Samuel Junior Irusota from the Edo State of Nigeria brings us a haunting poem burdened by death, destruction, perseverance, hope and the lack thereof. This poem was originally published as part of our international selection of poetry titled "Verses of Lament and Dissent — First Issue."


Here, parents go to bed with no hope
of seeing their children in the morning.
Here, everywhere you go, all you see is a basket of bones.
Here, children are left homeless and defenseless
with no hope of seeing the sun.
You do not want to be ripped apart by sounds of AK-47 riffles,
you do not want to be eaten by the news from the radio and the television.
Father went in search for food and never returned
and Mother she went in search of shelter and was hit by a stray bullet.
Amina, my sister, was raped to death by a gang of terrorists.
Abu, he was praying in a mosque and he died in a blast...
Here, we romance death with open hands.
Yet, every day we learn to live in broken dreams
hoping that the dawn births a better tomorrow
where we can all live in peace.
Tell me, where can we sleep with our two eyes closed
while keeping the hope of a new dawn awake?

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About the Contributor

Samuel Junior Irusota is a multiple award winning poet, author and lawyer. He is the author of A Boy's Body is War (a collection of poems). He recently won the Clash of Pens Poetry Contest 2019 and is a co-winner of the Poets in Nigeria (PIN) Food Poetry Contest 2018. His works have appeared in and are forthcoming in Praxis Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Indian Periodical, Kalahari Review, Journal Nine, among several others. He believes that poetry is a craft that can change the world. He writes from the Edo State in Nigeria.

“Remember, remember
13th of July,
Martyrs of Kashmir
and their sacrifice
who bore witness
with the crimson skies
Heroes of Kashmir
who paid the price.
Remember, remember
13th of July
Remember, remember
13th of July.”

—from: 13th of July, MC Kash