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---
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