In my country,
Poverty is air—
You do not have to pay for it,
You just have to be born.
The night I came out of my mother’s womb,
I was welcomed by darkness. There was no light
In the hospital ward, except a candlelight
That gave me hope, telling me this country
Will be full of darkness, but there is always a little light.
It is why we are all still living in Nigeria.
A boy is a product of malnutrition. There is a cave
Growing inside his eyes. A boy bears the stomach
Of a pregnant woman. But he is not dead—
I do not know why the boy still lives.
Death, to me,
Seems cheaper than his miserable
But the boy lives still. It is because
In the midst of the darkness,
That small candle still gives him light.
It is hope. Hope that candlelight can grow into sun.
And I do not know if to call hope a curse.
I do not know if to be angry that we are strong.
The darkness does not blind us.
The death does not kill us.
We live through the darkness
Of economy, through the death hidden
In this poverty, through this scarcity
Forced upon us by senseless politicians.
In the midst of the war,
We are still here standing.
We are still here singing hope around a fire.
And it does not matter what hurricane rushes
The Nigerian is a mighty mountain.
Kolawole Samuel Adebayo is an old soul in a young Nigerian body whose poems seek to awaken the human consciousness. His poems have appeared on Glass, Button Poetry, Burning House Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, Mojave Heart Review, Word Rhymes & Rhythm, BPPC anthology, and elsewhere. He likes to connect with his friends via his Twitter handle, @samofthevoice.