THE CITY OF GHOSTS IS THE CITY OF MY PEOPLE
AND IS THE ONLY PLACE I'M CERTAIN OF BEING CALLED AN OUTCAST.
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.