when your father died – tim fab-eme

Rashes covered my scalded face
like spills in the delta;
black-robed women clustered to loot
the dead, grinding their teeth
like crows, emptying jars and bowls:
they’re Umuada—the Nile crocodiles
that feast on their kind.

They flung me down, scraped
my hair with broken bottles,
and as the blood flooded
your grandmother slumped and cried
Ewo, she killed my son!
And your uncles sadly smiled

like lions lacerating a lamb;
I raised the cup with
oscillating hands, pressed it like
blade on my lips, and
zipped my eyelids—the water

they bathed your dad’s body
was the tea I drank.
I looked heavenward, God afar,
and near the obituary read:

He’s survived by his mother,
brothers, sisters, wife, six girls…
My scraps arrived in calabashes

as broken as my inside,
and I watched our properties

disappearing like my rotting husband.

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