I am sure, God, I grow in the space between my country & my dreams. At the embassy, an older woman asks why my name sounds like God’s, says Emeka unfurls like A maker when tried on a foreigner’s tongue, when I tell her I am a Nigerian she stills –the surprised eyes of a cub pulled out of a zoo. I wear my country like a prayer, I try it on twice like my father’s militia coat. Good God, I am Nigeria most honest prayer. I mean in my room I trace the map back to Africa, to Nigeria, to the land where my people wake up with the sun in their bones. I cry wolf for Hauwa Liman, for my grandmothers who died in the war, for the heroes who held the flag close to their bodies even when they were drowning. In my dreams, I wake up to women with amethyst eyes on a shore where the world glitters godly, to fathers teaching their children the songs of victory. I’m standing in a land that once called my fathers a monkey, proud monkeys. In the pre-colonial days, our fathers stood over the bodies of white trespassers, my history lecturer once said. Nightly, I dream of a land of rainbows & greens, where truth is silver, justice is golden, where we hold hands but not to mourn the dead. God, I’m not black, I nigerian my skin into beauty, into the night’s hopes. Lord, I want this country like an old widow wants her only surviving son. I want this nation, my loyal dream, my beautiful maim, my fairest hope. Nigeria, my forefather’s loyal love, proudest warthog, meekest stillness where we stand on the shore, as a people, sweating with protest, prayers waiting for God’s hands to touch anything –anything –& in the distance the children chase fireflies, a bird hums: dis naija, great people, great ation.
Nome, Emeka Patrick is a Nigerian writer studying English Language and Literature at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Nigeria. In 2018, he was awarded the 40th Festus Iyayi Award for Excellence (Poetry). His works have been published or forthcoming in Gaze journal, Beloit poetry journal, FLAPPER HOUSE, Crannóg magazine, Mud Season Review, Barnhouse journal and elsewhere.