The woman next compound knows

 

the native name of death,

 

I have heard her many times

 

calling upon it to come and

 

bear witness to her innocence.

 

she carries the sins of a spirit

 

in her heart and

 

inhales the scents of guilty herbs.

 

she is doomed---

 

until she confesses---

 

to wear shabby clothes and

 

only see her children in her dreams.

 

the woman next door hardly cries;

 

she only stares

 

perhaps at her husband's ghost.

 

sometimes, I think the woman must have

 

walked through the thick forest

 

three whole times

 

overnight.

 

but I do know that

 

the woman next door breaks down;

 

I hear her sometimes---

 

crying hysterically,

 

calling her dead husband to come

 

and testify for her,

 

she screams into the deep night,

 

Alabi, please, tell them. I did not kill you.

 

Photo by Lenny Miles on Unsplash