Night Bus to Kaduna

Night Bus to Kaduna

Night Bus to Kaduna 1920 1080 Adedayo Agarau

I hate stillness: the driver and the bus are moving
the woman beside me rocks her daughter in her chest.

A cold night-sky empty with light as if perpetuating a murder
a headlamp piercing through the thick dark of road

I think of my mother snoring in her sleep, the long
arms of my sister flung open to fold me into a bosom,

my father’s voice unchanged, hard as onion bulbs
and soft like the skin of tulip, his wide smile

settling me in the cushion of our old house
my mother, back from the kitchen sweaty,

brings a bowl of rice and palm oil stew.
In this bus, I am something I do not remember,

the feet of a dead bird or the inside wings of a horse,
either way, I am still, unable to move forward

homeward— where there is a fire waiting to burn you out
there is no longer a family inside this city this bus turns to

one morning before I ran, there was a fire, then bullets ripping
the skin of our house apart, then a fallen shadow of my father’s body

then my sister’s groaning like a wounded deer, and my mother
rushing back from the kitchen when a bullet smothered her neck.

Header photograph © Marybeth Cohowicz DeYoung.

Share This: