3 Poems │ Abdulkareem Abdulkareem


Mother— believe me again,
I’m not mad

Mother asks if this is another
subtle elegy to mourn my father,
& I tell her— this poem is another iron
caught between the anvil and the hammer

I tell her, this poem is another fireplace
keeping me warm through the night.

I know of boys who subdue to the euphony of grief reeling them
to its abode, & boys caught
like beef between the incisor of grief.

But mother, believe me— I do not call him dead,
in this poem, his shroud is transmogrified
into a flowing gown, & we converse
through my mouth.

& mother— believe me again,
I’m not mad. I’m just another boy
wading through his grief with a poem.


(For the citizens of Shikan Mbagena Kpai,
Katsina, Benue State, Nigeria)

We’ve been sowing dead bodies on our land,
& but they do not sprout like a plant
into a lush, sapling—

My father was rich untill the skirling
of death’s bagpipe penetrated his labyrinth,
& his land became a morgue with graves
lined like seed beds.

Even my mother’s farm— filled with grass
was mowed to bury bodies.

They say my land is rich with milk & honey—
but what about the blood & the fire
painting my village with death like potholes
on a Lagos road

In my city,
you take two steps & you walk
into blood coagulated on fragile hearts.

Every baby is born with a trauma— the
DNA for my town. Even to run is death,
& to stay is a massacre.

Peace to us is like a lead choir
humming an hymn on a lectern,
& paradise to us is a
place where sanctuary circles &
nothing sounds like a gun.

Explosion of anger

A single match / triggers an explosion /
of anger / inside your chest / then it burns /
like a wild fire / through your body / feasting /
on every ounce of meat / as a plague / feasts /
on the peace of the world / the ones around you /
try to pipe / their water of words / on your body /
to placate your body / but you continue to burn /
till the fire consumes / the ones pacifying you, and you /
anger to you is a shallow thing / but you keep falling in its pit /

Abdulkareem Abdulkareem is a Nigerian writer who wants his voice to go beyond the thatched roof of his mother’s house. He studies Linguistics and Nigerian Languages at the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria. Apart from writing poetry, he cherishes the historical fiction and the crime fiction genre. His friends calls him Pānini. He writes from the ancient city of Ilorin. When his not writing, he is either listening to Juice world or Drake. His works have appeared or are forthcoming on Poetrykit online anthology, ARTmosterrific , Naija Buffett readers, The Kalahari review, and The Shallow tales review. He tweets @panini500bc. He is on Facebook @ Abdulkareem Abdulkareem, Instagram: @panini500bc

Lake Adedamola is a poet, writer, and editor with Nantygreens, who's worked with several other literary blogs including Brittle Paper. He has, since 2018, served in various capacities on the Lagos International Poetry Festival, LIPFest, team.

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