Jungle Jaundice

Outside the burning garden
His brothers had
Into yellow grasshoppers with iron mandibles

They grazed flowers that ornate their land
And the herbs that cures madness
Shredding the talisman
That keeps death away from their fore-fathers

The air was filled with the reek of smoke
And the faraway sound of gunshots
He hopes for a tomorrow that’ll come today
When sober men will walk high

That night, he falls into a realm – deeper
Than sleep
He sees himself at the bank of Nile
Picking crabs into a bucket – as the river
Flows north

He saw a bird perched on a cashew tree,
Its tail had a vibrant yellow tip
With a half-moon crest on its head
Like the face of his sisters on cheerful nights

As he moves towards the bird
He heard deeper gun shots.
And the voice of his father,

‘They are coming!’ – He said
As he shook him back
To the life he so much abhorred
Like the breathe of garlic

: Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian poet, a lover of arts and a welder of words. Read other articles by Hussain.