Poems by D. m Aderibigbe

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Oil Plants

by D. m Aderibigbe

From Canary Fall 2014

D. m lives on a plot of land with his grandmother and a few family members in the Nigerian city of Lagos -about 300 feet away from the Majidun River in the Majidun River watershed.

After the Niger Delta Crisis

Our hearts stopped beating -- fear died --
because our teachers told us we had
to die for the classes to continue.
Because our fathers returned home
with slim fish nets, dripping of
their new glory water -- crying over their
new roles: irresponsible fathers.
Because of our markets, now dumb as a
graveyard at night -- what do we call
a market with no things to sell?

We honed our machetes until their
teeth shone, like the brightness our
future lacked. We filled our wooden
guns with bullets, wrapped them
in our frustrations, headed

for the foreigners' oil plants that had
filled our breath with toxic smoke,
our rivers, deserts, under flowing
water with sparkling oil waste.
How does our future

grow older without these dead fishes?

When they ask us where we are
headed, we will tell them we are
going to get death, dead.

When they ask us where we are
headed, we will tell them we are
going to bring back our fishes.

*The Niger Delta is an oil-rich region in Nigeria, suffering from environmental issues as a direct consequence of oil exploration carried out by foreign nationals. This resulted in an uproar by the local people, who bear the brunt of these hazardous activities.

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