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The City of Ghosts is the City of My People...



by Abdulrazaq Salihu

All the people I love are the ghosts that hunt at night.

The drive to my people’s home, the silence of nights

Quiets down as the horror fades away. On the roads

You do not meet the drunk, nor do you mistake the

Roads paranormal bending into light—a symbol of

Purity. It’s a thousand hours of walk, your body is

Forced into a gun powder (and your insecurities

Creak into the back of your ear like a broken omen—

Clay plates falling on Christmas Eve). Smoke

Becomes fire. Your body is an explosion of wrath

On all the wrong planets, your mother's body is

The first place to hold unto the warmth on the atlas.

You have never known the music of lost so well.

You open your creased palm to cup your withering.

You have never known the value of your beauty

So you let the air-gas-fist slide. You slit the bottom

Throat. Let the blood run into its suffering. Let the

Body of lifelessness sleep—in heavenly peace, like

Silent nights, like holy nights, like all is calm.

You do not know and would not know

All backs that bow must also dance to the ache of

Frustrations and anger and fear and despair and

The air in the wind grinds your nostril into an

Ammonium confirmed compound of lost.

You do not choke and you do not falter.

A street with ghosts must only gather

A confederation of darkness, your skin

Kind is the first to assemble. Ghosts are whites.

So even in this holy ground, you’re discriminated.

You leave the one place that calls you son. Two

Roads diverge in a yellow wood. You take none.

You take all. You cling to the illusion of righteousness.

You put your hand again, today, against all the odds.

Yet, you cannot count yourself among your people

And you cannot clasp and not shake in silence.

So all the night's music lay quietly before the soft

Lip of the broken town of ghosts and my kinsmen.


Abdulrazaq Salihu, from Niger State, Nigeria, is a member of the Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation and has won poetry contests like the Hilltop Creative Writing Award and Nigerian Prize for Teen Authors. Besides Kinsman Quarterly, Salihu's poetry has been recognized in magazines like the Jupiter Review, Angime, and Grub Street Mag. His powerful collection, "Exit Wounds," demonstrates sophisticated use of imagery, daring exploration of rhythm, and captivating emotional content.

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