Poetry

July 24, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Reuters photo

 

By

Awanto Margaret

 

 

 

Do you Know?

 

(A Poem for Cameroon)

 

 

I

 

Did you notice the wind has become town crier? Blowing with it wails and dirges of bereft mourners?

 

II

 

Did you notice the sun is now a solstice? And the days an extension of tribulations orbiting around destitution?

 

III

 

Do you know that writing is my lectern? That I preach a gospel from the book of Peaceful coexistence?

 

IV

 

Did you read the papers today? Or scroll through your social media feeds? Buea was a deserted town, even ghosts fled at the sound of gunshots.

 

V

 

Have you noticed that obituaries now trump birth certificates? I was composing a paean for a couple when it turned to an elegy because the husband boarded an unfortunate taxi home.

 

VI

 

Are you aware that all this won’t feature on mainstream media? Or it would but with a subtle veneer of everything-is-calm-in-these-regions?

 

VII

 

Do you know that I wore God like a shield and a bullet still got me? Or that my pastor’s praise and worship did not break him out of jail like it did for Paul and Silas?

 

VIII

 

Do you know of a pogrom? It is being perpetrated against my kin and when I termed it so, my professor scored me an F and demanded I call it a crisis instead. This is how I learnt to swallow my words.

 

IX

 

Have you been to Bamenda lately, a friend spent weeks sleeping on bare floor because she needed proof greater than her Identity card; greater than her birth certificate, greater than her dialect to proof she was Cameroonian. Thank heavens her cousin had a heavy purse, oh thank heavens!

 

 I am now considering the idea of tattooing my forehead with letters that read PROUDLY CAMEROONIAN, so I never suffer her fate.

 

X

 

Have you asked of Belo? A lad went to visit his mother and ended up visiting his ancestors. I did not weep. I did not wail. I wrote him an elegy.

 

XI

 

Have you heard of agoraphobia? We were all diagnosed of it after a wedding wine was turned into blood by soldiers because we weren’t to be seen in fives or tens. I have since become a loner.

 

XII

 

Did you hear of brothers who now wear winter coats and talk of snow because they were granted asylum? I read an article that suggested we all do same.

 

XIII

 

Do you know that home is home? My grandma grinned when the mayhem reached her doorstep. She is not the type to flee, she has never been. While we shivered and made mental wills, she said a prayer and told us to remember this too shall pass.

 

 

 

 

 

Awanto Margaret

Awanto Margaret is a Cameroonian. She holds a BA in History and loves to write and read. She has been published in, or has forthcoming stories with Tushstories and The Kalahari Review. Find her on Twitter as @Margaret_awanto

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