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




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