Christmas in Chibok, By Gbenga Adesina

In the privacy of my merry heart and the not so private laughter of
my kin, I suddenly remembered the Chibok girls and their families
and…and…colour just flew out of everything for me…for us…:

When I say jingle bell
amidst the din of my pollen daughters
beautiful as solace in mother’s arm
Chichi and Denike, 4 and 6, lithe as the intimation of joy, in their
small red dresses,
laughing like love, those Lupita eyes, braying around the house in
kindred mischief,
smiling and dancing their little dances, jumping and pulling at my
shirt: “look at me look at me”. Their tongues rolling out joy in
unformed word: daaaady!

When I say jingle bell, my mind will become one with punctured homes
and vacant chairs in far Chibok where silence and absence sit in place
of daughters that once sang.

When I say jingle bell, my mind will become one with that woman of
Ramah in Shiki, North of Chibok. Eyes kohled in loss no words could
touch, tending her wounds, cradling her song in the open air. Her eyes
auburn as want, tearing at a forgetful world lusting after its own

When I say jingle bell, I shall hear her sing and shall pause: Three
words, three songs.
One for 200 daughters and more laying still in mid morning light for
the rescue yet to come.
Two and three for black doors that swallow songs world over.
Her voice, her song lilting in the dark like a lone star calling forth
forgotten daughters back to forgotten homes.

Gbenga Adesina is a poet, an essayist and a collector of fictions.

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