The city always seems to be ablaze
And we are stuck in a permanent haze
Of smoke and dust.
There’s a factory beside my street,
It has tall pipes which are always puffing smoke into the atmosphere, and birds
Don’t like to fly around that area,
I call it the big smoker.
A thin sheet of dust always covers
The street, houses, cars, clothes and leaves.
The leaves here are never green and I think that’s why the adults named this place Ewekoro
—leaf is bitter.
The big smoker is accompanied by the medium and small smokers which rumble through the dirt road daily, like drunk pilgrims coming home from Jerusalem.
It didn’t come as a new thing to me
When others started wearing nose masks
Because of the pandemic,
Nose masks to me are the only things that masks my lungs from the dust, dirt and grime that has become a second skin to this city.
I live in an everlasting brown city;
Brown lungs, brown hair, brown clothes, brown skin.
And I know that someday when death calls,
He’ll be in a form of brown dust hovering in my yard till he wraps me in raspy breaths.