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—Anthony Okpunor


          After Ilya Kaminsky's "We Lived Happily During the War"

When the dawn came, so did the smoke.

So did the armored trucks and the men and fury.

All the money sprinkled into boys.

Have you heard of whom money cannot save?

When it started, the soldier held his gun to

the boy's head, asked his body to open.

I tell you, a trigger will make some of us rich.

When pulled, come drink: my country hosts tea parties.

There is no easy way to write death as past.

We carry bones on our shoulders, we sing

an anthem for those who dream.

They shall be fat and alive.

But the song is far from the gun,

the soldiers who aim money into the sky aim at us.

They throw money into our homes,

drag a boy's body for stinking like wine.

The thought of river sends the boy’s skin out of tribe,

where god picks up the wingless & drops a rust.

I tell you, in our aftermath, where you see

a grave, say it is money,

say you found the room marked x.

Where you find money, bless the rich for a massacre.


ANTHONY OKPUNOR is a Nigerian poet, essayist, and artist. He was shortlisted for the 2019 Nigerian Student Poetry Prize. He was also shortlisted for the SEVHAGE/Angya Poetry Prize 2019. He emerged as winner of the 2019 Kreative Diadem Annual Creative Writing Contest (poetry category). He was a finalist for the 2020 Palette Spotlight Poetry Award. He was also longlisted for Palette Poetry’s 2020 Emerging Poet Prize. He was a finalist for the 2021 Chestnut Review’s Stubborn Writer’s contest (poetry category). He was recognized as a semifinalist for Adroit Journal’s 2021 Award for Poetry and Prose. His works have appeared/forthcoming on online platforms including The Adroit Journal, The McNeese Review, Palette Poetry, Frontier Poetry, Rattle, Strange Horizons, Roadrunner Review, and elsewhere.

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