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Dear Wanderer

Dear wanderer,

I left.

Because the boat capsized and my wheat, your barleys all got drowned. Hope became lost like a flicker of light in dead man’s eye.

There was only a supermask, by the side table at dawn. Integrity, integrity, the hailers hailed. When sunset came, i replayed the day, and asked the wailer, what integrity was?
And on the lonely floor of our home, devoid of the warmth of your sole, lay a broken vase, a broken rosary and a broken photo of me and you and the shards were sharp, reflecting your face, the faint memories of your smile. And a note. A hurriedly written words that you painfully carved into my soul. The note you wrote ‘goodbye’ before poetry left you.
Before you left me, before you faded into the wilderness.

So i stopped. I didn’t run. 
I was done running. 
I did worst. I hid.
I hid.

Wanderer, the night came for me, and my legs became weak. So i hid behind my shame, behind the cloak of incompetence. I hid myself behind my specs and watched as mother drowned in her blood.This blood of her sons, gushing into their graves. The sons that raised so high, her flag.

The flag that basked in the glories of their names. Those names we sing even today.The songs of Ramat, Balewa and Zik. Of Sardauna, Awolowo and Kuti.

But I am sorry that you couldn’t come home, to mother, to me but i am never sorry for not writing to you after a long time. I didn’t want to write. I became heartbroken everytime i picked up my pen and remember that my letter to you would only be soaked in my tears before i reach the end. That there will be words of pain, terror, horror, tears, regrets, sadness more than the letters that would spell happy words. Words like: I love you.

Still It is not easy being here, Wanderer, being lost and not knowing where to go. It is not easy when the only home you know doesn’t feel like home again. When the smell of mother’s broth is replaced by the smell of a burnt kid, or of another buried beneath the rubbles of a blasted wall

Now they come to make her blood flow. They would come for her pulse and watched with pleasure how her heart jumped to her throat with every knock. They would come with guns. Big guns. They would open fire at her innocent children. They would burn the villages and then leave the deafening echoes of their atrocities hanging in the air.
Along the piercing shrieks, of the raped women tearing our hearts. It broke my heart. This broke my heart.

And they came for Zamfara. The blood still flows wanderer. Zamfara screamed. The dead became cold. The blood dried on the corpses. Before my eyes, humanity was killed.Its blood splashed upon my face and upon the glasses you gifted me on the day you left. That day when your hands let go of mine and your feet trudged into the wilderness, leaving me behind, cold, alone and… Sad.
That day when the stars deserted the night sky, and the moon turned red announcing the arrival of grief. The grief that soaked our souls.

On the day you left wanderer, the blood splashed. And so i sang. I did what i knew how to do best. We hummed prayers. We wrote poems. But when the dawn came again, blood still flows upto now, brimming the seven seas that settled in our eyes.

Then they came for jos too, Kaduna, Birnin Gwari and now my home. They came for my home, Wanderer. They went to the Caliphate and gunned down my brethrens in cold blood. They burned their houses and left.
There was death in Lagos. The god of fire was angry at us. Then the angry clouds bare their wide mouths and many farmlands got destroyed and houses collapsed. Homes were flooded and Daura screamed. Properties were lost. Fresh graves were dugged on the back of mother. Mother cried again. But you never come home. You never looked back, and that’s so mean of you.

Wanderer, the vultures urinated on the face of home.They now ganged up against Father. They raised a certain Cupp for a toast. But the cupp fell down and broke even before the cheers. I knew it was a sham. How could they present a lamb even if it is against a weak lion? Was it all they had, a scampering mouse? What arrant nonsense. Wanderer don’t you see how useless this small rock was against this old rock? They shoul have known better, they should have fielded a tiger, a fox. I’d have voted for a Stag, oh! this golden stag. I wished you were here when a slap broke one’s neck and we were all in severe pain. We became r-actors, but in sifiya pain.

Now they are here again, making Zamfara bleed. And father? He turned the other cheek and never say a word. Wanderer father has failed us. Father has drawn upon our hearts the alphabets of pain. Wanderer pray for father, pray for the eyes of father to see our pains, for his ears to hear the painful cries of our brethren in Zamfara. Or seek for him salvation, upon the day he will stand before the God of poetry, to account for the blood dried on his palm, and the cold corpses invisible on his frail shoulders.
Dear wanderer, father act like he is deaf. This is how home rolls now, come and roll with the tide. Our values have turned to dust, settling on the foreheads of shame. Truth left. We dined on the same table with deceit. Father mastered the art of blame game. I was tempted to learn. But i didnt. I cried instead. I cried and then wished you were here.


Now the rose has wilted, and here i am holding the ashes of our dreams. Wanderer, we are lost and broken. And the road became long, the paths tarred and you are far from home, from me and from mother. The thought of that broke me into seven shards of poems. Now the last door has been closed. Do not come home. Sail the gusts, and ride the rhinos. Go to those edges, and wait. Wait for salvation. Do not come home.If you feel tempted to fall, then do not fall for me. I am but a ship wreckage left at the mercy of this angry sea. I am sorry i was weak and i didnt come after you. I had no strength to tread that road again. I had bruised knees and my heart became heavy. This is the end of the road, and its a dead end. I am sorry wanderer but do not come home. Find home elsewhere.

I am sorry that this song did not reach you:

That i fell into another’s arms, because you have fallen into the abyss of wilderness. I am sorry. I wriggled a thousand times only to fall back again, like a helpless little fish, into the net. Back again, back again, hopelessly.

I am sorry i didn’t try very hard, to break away from another’s grasp. I succumbed even with the invisible seams binding me to you. And now the invisible fingers of love have stripped me naked and i have never been the same. So I walked to the North, the stars turned red. Love fled. The tree fell. I ran. I ran wanderer, then stopped. Because i didn’t know what to do, again.

I don’t know how to tame this black panther after my heart. I don’t know how to escape this circus of his love, drawing me, and drawing me to him. I am helpless in this and now more than ever i craved to be alone, just me and you and the calm blue sea. Away from the noise. Away from the smokes, the blasts and the shots. Just me and you and the generous blue sky. On the shore of the sea, me and you, singing the forbiddeen songs, counting the rosary in our sighs and dancing to the rythms of our souls. Just me and you, on this dead world.

So i picked my broken pen and write to you again, because when they asked about you, the world became quite except for the shrieks deadened by my palms. Wanderer they asked about you and about me and about the letters i wrote to you and the world became silent, again except for the sound of pain breaking me from within. The Winter did came, with many deaths, but i didn’t budge.It was not death that scared me. It is life without you the moment…

You left.

Yours Maryam.

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