Drawing Lines

by Richard Ali

For Troy and Chibuihe


I’ve got pigeons in my roof


a friend was robbed the other day

in Nairobi, gun shoved to his ribs

— of law books, money and Arundhati Roy


Another was kidnapped, held for days

for an essay he’d written, lives still

in the sleepwalk space of strange mares

obscene horses hitched atop a hill

looking down


— Have you watched pigeons fly?


Desire is a semicircle that stops midway

to see the world, carve a name on rocks

make love to djinns, fight grey blue children

who on close inspection look a lot like you


The arc is abandoned but the line does not stop

becomes the faint entrails of jets above

and bye bye and tears


tell me, country, what happens when the boys

cannot stay, grow dark wings and fly away

never to return again.


About the poet:

Richard Ali is a Nigerian author and member of @JaladaAfrica. His debut collection, “The Anguish and Vigilance of Things” will be published by Konya Shamsrumi (Lagos).