The #Babishai2015 third place poem
LHR: by Nick Makoha (Uganda)
An airport is a room. I keep talking as if my body is elsewhere.
In full sight of a crimson God as children we were burdens,
coffins with eyes. A professor steps into the light to educate us.
You can’t kill the dead twice. Has he seen the militia slide down
a mountain like goats, or a beatingheart explode on to a barrack wall?
Even the coffee I brought back in hand luggage when poured in a cup
is an eye, a past dark itching for light.Therefore, I cannot be the memory
of your death, let me bend the waya river does, all shadow and sound,
around a hill, towards a village I once recognised. There are days
when this unplanned landscape speaks its music, above a ribbon of stars,
below a wall of torn out tents and beyond a river waiting as one would
the apocalypse. On other daysyouare a name on a list, given to armed men
at a roadblock. Guns held loosely by their waist. Hovering as catfish
in a shallow pool. Before roads led to you, or Livingston’s maps found you,
before the mountains grew their backs, before sight was tempered,
before the revelation on a skies blank page in this perfect chalice of night
you are not the first pilgrim to ask the oracle what will I become me.
If I could stop the sky from stretching its arms across the horizon,
or the serpent Nile opening it’s mouth toward a sea, or star blinking
in a midnight constellation as god watches your wife wash silk in a stream
would I not stopped our countries screams. I have the luck of Caesar
his robe his crown and quest for immortality but soon this course
of blue and the way it bends will have no need of me.