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Abayomi Animashaun: Collateral Damage

In the orchards, the old revolutionaries 
Have gathered again for tea
 
They meet at the general’s house each morning
Below his balcony for tea cold unsweetened 

Drunk from the same small cup 
That’s passed around after each slow sip

They say nothing about the passion 
That gripped them in their youth

Nothing of the villages they cleansed with napalm 
In the name of villages they fought for  

They sit in silence for hours till it starts to get dark
Then one by one they stand and leave the yard

Saying nothing of the thousand infants 
Whose burnt and severed heads 

They counted and proudly hung on spikes
Whose teeth they wagered when playing cards

Infants who return to each revolutionary
After midnight, crawling on top each other 

From the bedrooms all through the house
From the garden all through the compound 
 
Infants hungry, crying, thinking the revolutionary 
Their father, and his house the place of their birth




Copyright 2020 Abayomi Animashaun. Published by permission of Black Lawrence Press.

Abayomi Animashaun is an immigrant from Nigeria.  A winner of the Hudson Prize and a recipient of a grant from the International Center for Writing and Translation, Animashaun is the author of three poetry collections: Seahorses, Sailing for Ithaca, and The Giving of Pears. He is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. He lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin with his wife and children.

Abayomi Animashaun

6 comments on “Abayomi Animashaun: Collateral Damage

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    July 16, 2022

    Oh, what a poem, and what an ending!💔

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Barbara Huntington
    July 14, 2022

    Wow! One of those poems that smacks you across the face

    Liked by 1 person

  3. loranneke
    July 14, 2022

    What tone, what imagery, what a deeply chilling poem…

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on July 14, 2022 by in Poetry, Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , , , .

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