In the second part of the British Council Literature sponsored International Digital Collaboration Project involving Obinna Udenwe and Peter Kalu, Nigerian short story writer and poet, Iquo DianaAbasi pens a thought-provoking poem against the background of police brutality and racial killings in the United States.
Nwa m nọ n’ Amerika,
May you not fall victim;
Shot in your grandma’s backyard,
Your phone mistaken for a gun.
May no obituary bear your name,
After an officer feared for her life
Though your hands were
Raised in surrender
May you not be target practice
Felled in bed, at a botched drug
raid, though your home knew
neither drugs nor dealers.
Nwa m nọ n’ Abroad
May you never beg a fellow human for breath,
tortured to non-existence though chokehold
during arrest is illegal in that state.
May you not know execution on
a night when the reaper roams the highways,
disguised as Caucasian famished for the blood of a black male.
May your last breaths not be televised, stained with lead,
watched by lover and child, impotent at
Nwa m nọ Amerika
On a night you choose hoodie as go-to gear,
may you not be stalked and silenced;
your crime: ‘suspicious looking’, holding soda and snack.
May your neck never be footstool
for a supremacist deaf to pleas:
“I can’t breathe…!’.
May you never encounter a Chauvinist
deaf to cries for your mother…
8 minutes, 44 seconds too late.
May your scholarship and industry not
be truncated for mistaken identity,
before you return to the land of your fathers,
where none know you by colour,
your identity not black, but Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio, Hausa,
Nupe, Tiv, Nigerian, son of the soil.
Nwa m nọ Amerika,
land of the free and equal;
My son, you will return, whole.
A British Council International Digital Collaboration Project @LitBritish#wahalaconvo