POETRY: Hunger is an Angry Thing

The other day Oma was peeing blood
Crimson rivulets streaming
Down the cement into the latrine
I knew because she showed me
She said, Mama, mama and she was quiet

What is the essence of dying?
Who gets to live off our suffering?

Do not make room for an unwanted guest
Lest he become an intruder
Don’t let him stay the night
Or he brings others- sickness, Pain, and Death
And your house collapses
And everything you have is gone
Hunger is an angry thing
It devours everything in its path

My Oma left today
I held her cold body to my thin chest
Caressed the tufts of yellow hair on her swollen head
I laid her near her brothers

I twist the rope in my hands
Obiageli! – a familiar voice
I turn to the empty house- no one
I walk ahead, lifting my eyes to see
At last, a tall tree
A relief

Seun Ajijala

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